We’ve all had those situations when someone comes to us distraught about their current situation. We listen, we sympathize, and we offer some suggestions, and, many times, those suggestions are shot down and what that person is really looking for is a quick fix and a solution that requires you to give something and lets them off the hook out of actually doing the work. Now, it is nice to help someone out if we can and would like to, and sometimes people just need a break, but most of the time the help we can offer them is that of encouraging them to do the work.
Before I began my journey in recovery, I was wanting others to get me out of my own messes. Mostly because I played the victim, but also because my life had become so unmanageable it overwhelmed me to try to think or work my way out with a solution. My thinking often just got me into more trouble because my perception was off and I didn’t have any positive tools to use when my poor decision making got me into further trouble. But when I finally reached out for help for the biggest, and most important problem I had, myself, I was asked, what I was willing to do, and I am grateful enough that my response to that question was, anything. For me, I had to fall so far down into despair that I was finally willing to do the work required to get myself out and to live a life I had, up until that time, only dreamed of. As I continued down my path of recovery it was explained to me that the only way this new way of life was going to work was if I worked it, if I rolled up my sleeves and got to work, and, that my reason for doing the work was for myself. I had to believe I was worth the work and let that belief light a fire in me to take the right actions. As I did that I began to build up my self-esteem and self-worth, two things I had very little of at the beginning of my journey, but as I worked for each milestone I achieved my self-esteem and self-worth grew, and so did the love I found in myself. I thought about the little me inside of myself, that little me I hurt so many times before walking this path, and I made a commitment to that little version of myself that I was going to fight for her, that I was going to do better by her and that I was going to learn to love myself enough that she would be proud of me, and I do think she is proud of me today, that is who I work for, that is who I protect and honor, that little version of me who hadn’t yet found her voice.
We can’t do the work for someone else, for it to truly have the effect it should on someone, and make a change, they have to do it themselves, or at least take steps to help or better themselves. It’s OK to offer assistance, but it’s up to that person to do the heavy lifting. Doing the work is important for building up those attributes that help us make better decisions, and choices that reflect self-love and self-care, when we try to do the work for someone we take away those opportunities for that person to build those attributes in themselves, we steal it away from them, it is important for their own sense of self that they do their own work. And, by letting someone else do their own work we’re also practicing boundaries for ourselves, of not overstepping, or people-pleasing or trying to use the good works we might do for others inflate our own ego, we have to learn to stay in our own lane, be kind, supportive, helpful where we can, but not let that help come at a cost of our own selves. We are not helping if we are doing someone else’s work for them. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you try to do for others what they should be doing for themselves? How do you do this? Why do you do this? What have you learned about yourself from doing the work in your own life? How has that built up your self-esteem and self-worth? Can you see by doing the work for someone else you could be taking those acts of building up those attributes away from them? Standing by someone as they learn to do the work for themselves may be the greatest gift you could give them, and one day, they may thank you and be reminded of the foundation that was built out of that work that gave them their own sense of worth and self-love.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you