I was talking to someone the other day who was finding it hard to get through to another person in their life. They could see that this person was unable to make progress in an area of their life and this caused them to offer their advice.
But while it was their intention to assist them, this person ended up getting defensive and retracting. Based on their reaction, it was as though they were being criticised in some way.
This wasn’t the kind of reaction that they expected to receive, making them wonder if they needed to hide this part of their nature from this person. Doing so would make it easier for them to get on; the downside is that it would cause them to lose a part of themselves.
Therefore, when they were in their company, they wouldn’t be able to express their true-self. They would need to keep part of themselves in, and not only would this cause them to water themselves down, it would take a fair amount of energy to keep this part of them hidden.
This was a time when I started to think about what it was like when I first got into self-development; with this being a time when I shared what I had learnt with my family and friends. I spoke a lot about what I was learning and spoke out when I thought that I knew something that could help them.
I believed that they would be only too happy to hear about what I had learnt and that they would want to hear about something if it might assist them. I wasn’t someone who believed in withholding anything; especially if I thought it could make a difference.
A Big Surprise
It soon became clear that, in general, these people didn’t want to hear about what I had to say. While I thought I was giving them something that could help them, they acted as though I was giving them something that could harm them.
There were times when I thought that I was doing something wrong, which caused me to feel ashamed. After a little while, I thought that I wasting my time and that I couldn’t talk about this stuff with everyone.
Along with this, I gradually came to see that even though someone can create the impression that they want help, that doesn’t mean that this is actually the case. They could simply talk about their problems to gain attention; nothing more, nothing less.
In this case, having a problem is going to cause them to experience pain, but they will probably be getting something from it; this benefit is usually unconscious. And until they are willing to take a step back and to reflect on what this benefit is, they may do whatever they can to keep their life the same.
As a result of all this, I came to see that not everyone has the desire to face themselves and that everyone has their own path. I also looked into why I felt the need to ‘fix’ and ‘rescue’ people.
I came to see that by trying to change others I wasn’t respecting their boundaries and that this was a way for me to avoid my own baggage. Thus, playing this role allowed me to feel better about myself.
My need to change them was then a clear sign that I needed to look into what I was trying to avoid within myself. Behaving in this way was a waste of my energy and it stopped me from being able to embrace people who were different.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.