We all want the very best for friends and family. Many of us have a tendency to take on other people’s problems as if they were our own. We do it out of love, but ironically it can often lead to codependency in relationships as well as self-neglect. I speak from experience in this. My natural inclination in life has been to try and “save” the world, especially those closest to me. Unfortunately, I have found it just doesn’t work that way.
It is difficult to watch someone make, what you believe to be, bad decision after bad decision leading his or her life in a negative or non-progressing direction. We want to intervene, even at times – to grab them and shake them and say “what are you doing!?” and literally shove them in a better direction.
What we have to realize is that as much as we love or care about them that no one can make decisions for them. The only person who can rescue them… is them.
Why do I call Non-Attachment an art?
I call it an art because as easy as the concept is, it takes years, sometimes lifetimes to master.
It is easy to be jokingly callous and step back saying “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. But it’s heart wrenching and unnerving at times to pull back, relinquish the illusion of control, and simply allow that person and situation to be what it is and to work itself out.
Now in saying this I do not at all mean withdraw love or support.
A simple “I am still here and I love you.” Is one of the best statements of caring you can make to another person. There is no better gift than that of unconditional love. In that gift it allows the other person to know that it is ok to try – succeed or fail, you won’t think less of them and you will still be there.
This also allows you the mental and emotional space you need in order to take care of yourself. Getting lost in another person’s issues, regardless of love, is never healthy.
In order for anyone to reclaim their life and get it “Back on Track” that drive and power have to come from within. Owning responsibility for their decisions and their actions will lead them to a place of control and from that feeling of self empowerment comes both self esteem and the start of self love.
Written for: The Alberta Street News – Back on Track Column. Columnist: Sarah J. Barendse