U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland wasted no time responding to a September 29 letter sent to President Biden by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) asking that he examine angry parental protests of local public-school district school boards for...
You Can’t SAVE Everyone
Nothing saddens me more in life than seeing some beautiful person, someone with so much potential, seemingly unable to grasp their own worth.
It took me a long time and a lot of tears to understand that it’s not my job to save everyone; I think that’s a stage pretty much everyone working in the coaching / therapeutic realm goes through – that realisation that, despite all the awesome tools we have to help, not everyone will want them.
Sometimes we come across people who, for whatever reason, complain constantly about their lives, but really do not want to do anything to change.
Every now and again, we’ll come across someone who appears to yo-yo between baseline okay and the depths of despair and – sometimes – these people also don’t seem willing to shift that state. Sometimes they’ll believe they don’t deserve happiness, sometimes they don’t believe they’re good enough, sometimes they’ve just become so used to sitting in that space that it’s become a comfort zone and utterly the norm for them.
If it’s someone you’re close to, the realisation of your own powerlessness in that situation can feel crushing.
In the past, when I’ve seen loved ones dipping, it’s even triggered negative self talk in ME. I’ve wondered if I’m really cut out to do the work I do. I mean, if I can’t even help those I really care about, what good am I? Maybe I should just throw in the towel and go stack shelves somewhere. Maybe I’m kidding myself.
When I’ve hit that low, I’ve given myself a shake and reminded myself that sometimes, just sometimes, we really are too close to help.
Think of it this way: I’ve just started working with a personal trainer – he’s good, and he knows just how far to push me. When Tom’s there telling me I have a few more lifts in me, to push through that barrier and get to my goal, something inside me fires up and, determined not to let myself down, I find the strength to lift that weight.
Now, if it was one of my close friends, or maybe a family member telling me to do that, instead of my PT, I’d probably drop the weight and give them a two finger salute. That’s what familiarity does. If we’re struggling and those service provider/client boundaries and expectations aren’t there, it’s easier to turn off our ears and ignore what might be excellent advice and encouragement.
If you’ve tools in your toolkit that you just know would help someone you love, it can be really difficult to accept the rejection. Likewise, if you’ve offered advice that’s fallen on deaf ears, only for your loved one to enthusiastically rave about that very same advice spoken later by someone else, it can really punch you in the feels.
We need to remember, though, that timing can be everything and sometimes that closeness really can be a big block; sometimes your friend, partner, parent, child just can’t hear those words from your lips, no matter how helpful they might be. Don’t take it personally… it’s just part of the human condition.
Let me give you another example: sometimes, if my wife has been going through a tough time, she’s ended up getting really annoyed with me for going into what she calls ‘coach mode’. It’s second nature to me. I’ve spent years learning mechanisms to help, inspire and motivate people, so not using those same tools to help someone I love more than anyone else in the world feels ridiculously alien. If someone I love is bleeding, I reach for the Band-aids. It’s that simple.
But sometimes, just sometimes, we need to recognise that our role is not to fix, but to support; not to heal, but to hold; not to coach, but to comfort. No matter how tooled up we are, it’s not always our job to make things okay. Nobody died and made us God.
Whether we’re coaches, mentors, hypnotherapists, NLP practitioners, EFT specialists, Reiki masters or herbalists (insert your favourite area of expertise here), it’s not our job to save everyone. Sometimes we need to step back, support in other ways and take the teachings we’re being dealt with the situation as well… and that might be as simple as learning to back off and just be ready with hugs when we’re needed.
Until next time,
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