The phone beeps, a text message or call comes through, warning you of the latest update on the health and well-being of a loved one. The news isn’t good. Your loved one is making choices that appear to be self-sabotaging. Perhaps you know the ones, returning to an unhealthy relationship, returning to a toxic habit, gambling, drinking, cutting classes, each of these behaviors, hindering the them from achieving sustainable joy.
What is your immediate reaction upon hearing this news? What are you to do? How are you to “SAVE” your loved one? What will you say? How will you reach them, get through to them that this does does NOT have to be their lifestyle, they do not have to go down this path, they are worth SO MUCH MORE! You might be tempted to shake them, scream, shame, blame pick up the phone and call reinforcements of support… insert your own reaction here.
When you’re busy with everyone else’s business, who is tending to yours?
— Star Staubach (@StellarCoach) May 28, 2014
I get it. You have an active voice in your head, repeating the message that tending to your business means that you do not care enough for your loved ones. I’ve learned the hard way that spending long hours of my day, researching resources of support, and giving away unsolicited advice does NOT enhance the lives of my loves ones and it certainly detracts from my ability to focus on creating more joy in my own life.
Instead of reacting to the “bad news” with a phone call, anger or any other form of “rescuing” behavior, instead turn to the following responses:
1. Evaluate the results – Are your efforts (or lack of) actually moving anyone forward? If the answer is NO, then it may be time to take a different approach.
2. Become clear about the COST. There are many ways that you are allowing this situation to distract from your own ability to provide for yourself (from the most basic needs to the most luxurious of ones). Notice the sacrifices, time and resources spent on your desire to fix the lives of others.
3. PRACTICE what you PREACH! If you are asking your loved one to eliminate a behavior, take up a healthy lifestyle or demonstrate that they actually CARE about themselves, do the same for yourself. Turn your thoughts on what YOU can do to model the behavior your asking someone else to embody.
3. Communicate your love and the belief you have in your loved one. “I love you and I believe in your ability to overcome this obstacle.”
Your dreams slip away when you’re busy chasing someone else to follow their own, trust me, I was headed there. What will you practice, so that you have the energy to be living your dreams and honoring the voice calling you to be of greater service to yourself and those around you.