Musings on contributions and “fixing” others

Capital Letter I got an email today from a friend the other day, saying that zie was frustrated and sad at zir contributions and efforts in a particular community “being for naught.”  Zie finished with:

“I am gonna try very hard just to deal with my own self. That’s all I really need to worry about.”

In general, this is a sentiment with which I heartily agree.  In processing my own thoughts around this, I wrote the following in response.  I hope you find it valuable.

With very best wishes to all of you Relationship Explorers (and anyone else reading these words)!

~♥ Dawn

(nod) That all makes sense. I think one of the things for you (and me, as well as others…) to learn is that it’s not our job to fix others. Even if we are counselors and coaches, it’s not our job. Our job is to help them with perspective, perhaps, or to identify and teach tools. But the only person that can fix you is you. Once you get your arms around that, then the next step is to be with your own pain and sadness at not being able to fix things. Sometimes it’s just not your job, and sometimes it can’t be fixed, period. But either way, the temptation is so strong to just TRY HARDER. And that just makes the pig mad, you know? So you get to be with the frustration and pain and sadness, and just understand that it is so. To nod and say “yep, it sucks.” And not DO anything else until and unless the other person asks you for help in some concrete way that doesn’t mess with your own needs and boundaries.

Your contribution is YOU–you being your best self, offering—but not forcing!–your skills and talents. And if they are not needed or wanted here, then to find a place where they are needed and wanted, and to go offer them there, without forcing, or blaming those who couldn’t make use of them. An unwanted “contribution” is not a contribution–it’s a burden.

In and easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own perfect time, and for the highest good of all, I allow this or something better to manifest.” (–Marc Allen)

One thing I try to keep in mind these days, is that if it isn’t “easy and relaxed” then there’s probably something off about it. Sometimes the effort is part of the journey, like salmon swimming upstream to spawn. But sometimes it’s just effort, and we’d be better to turn around and go with the flow. (You deciding to [relocate] was you going with the flow; once that choice was made, you found it much easier to part with all the things weighing you down, so the effort of “swimming upstream” to do so was much reduced.)

[Your friends] have made their choices. They have contributed to the world in amazing ways. They also fomented or nurtured or allowed a great deal of drama in their lives that means that things are not so easy and relaxed for them. It’s a damn shame… but it’s not YOUR shame that they are who they are, and that you could not help. It was not your karma to rescue them! It IS your karma to take care of YOU.

I find Byron Katie helpful here. “Whose business are you in?” she asks. And if the answer is that you’re not in your own business, then you’ll need to get out of whoever’s business you are in. To do otherwise is to “fight with reality.” And if you fight with reality, you WILL LOSE. Reality is a lot bigger than you are. ;^)

The place I sometimes still get stuck around this is in the discernment portion. I don’t always know how to TELL if I’m in someone else’s business, or my efforts aren’t wanted, or I should just let something go, and not be trying so hard to push the boulder up the hill. The most famous lines from “The Serenity Prayer” are ones that come to me here:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” (–Reinhold Niebuhr.)

So I suppose all of that is a long-winded way to say “yes, that sucks, and I’m sorry you’re hurting about all of that.” Let me know when you want to get together to collect the hug that goes with it.

~♥ Dawn

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