Fripp Island; SC
"Any nation that would enslave another unwittingly enslaves themselves." - Johann von Goethe
"When you stop trying to change others and work to change yourself, your world improves." - Anon
People close to us do things that annoy us. In fact, people close to us do things that make their life much more difficult - and by extension make things more difficult for us too. We know that unsolicited advice never works, but sometimes we go beyond that and decide we are going to "fix" someone else. After all, we are convinced we know what is best and feel it is our duty to "change" them. And how does this work out?
It goes back to the old adage about "give a man a fish, feed him for a day - teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." If we have determined what we think is best for someone else, we may have the leverage to force them into doing it for a while. Will they ever be a good at it? What makes us think we can predict the future so well that we know who is best suited to be a fisherman versus a cattle rancher or a carpenter? How is it that we think we know what doors will open up for someone else when they "hit their bottom" with their circumstances? We may think we can predict the future, but all we need to do is to take a look back at our life and we quickly see that we really have no clue what is in store for any of us.
Of course it is our responsibility to let others know what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable as they impact us, but we are talking here about going the step beyond that and taking action to force someone else into the behaviors we want. If we look honestly at it, we see that we never have changed anyone else - only they can change themselves. At best they might reach a point of pain and choose to pattern their actions on the actions they see us taking in our own life. And, at best, if we are "successful" at forcing someone else into a particular behavior, have we done anything more than use our influence to take a hostage? Have we not simply saddled ourselves with another dependent?
Fixing others doesn't work. Leading by example works sometimes. Straightening ourselves out so that we can seek a spiritual solution to our problems works every time. But it is a lot easier to focus on what we think needs changed in others than to face what needs changed within ourselves. We serve ourselves and others best by keeping our side of the street clean and focusing our attentions on helping others with what they CANNOT do for themselves.
Today, may I be prudent.
Have a great Wednesday !!
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