To Rescue or not to Rescue?
August 25th, 2010
It is one of the most difficult things to watch… someone we love going through a painful situation. Whether it be divorce, a difficult job, a bad relationship or a multitude of other issues. The first thing we want to do is jump in and rescue them! To save our loved one from pain and save ourselves from having to watch it.
Providing a platform of love means going beyond the sometimes “bad” decisions that people make and allowing them to make those decisions with no judgment. It’s about loving them no matter what. Unconditionally. It’s knowing that this is their path and not yours. People need to make their own mistakes. You may notice that some people can catch a “bad” decision before they make it and some people have to recreate the same “bad” decision over and over in their life until they get it. It is a very hard thing to stand by and watch. Sometimes, we as observers, can see things so clearly (or so we think) that we want to shake our loved ones and say, “What are you doing? Don’t you get it? Do this! Do that! Then all will be fine in your world.”
The truth is, do we really know what will make everything fine in their world? Are we that powerful that if they just follow our instructions their life will be perfect? Sorry, but no. It may appear a certain action may clear up the current problem, but to rescue someone from their own growth and evolution just makes it so they are not learning their own lessons and we in turn have become an enabler.
It is beautiful and wonderful that we love our friends and family so much that we don’t want them to suffer unnecessarily, but is it really unnecessary? Or is it possible that once they finally learn the lesson, all on their own, they will learn it hard and deep and most likely will never have to learn that lesson again?
When I was 17 I dated a guy who was 19. He was every parent’s nightmare. He had a drinking problem, dealt drugs prior to knowing me, he cheated on me constantly and was physically abusive. I was so young and naive, I made so many excuses for him. I also thought that my love was special love and I had the power to make him change. Yeah, no. I kept this a secret from my family because I knew that his behavior was not ok by any means, but I was not ready to cut my ties with him yet. Fortunately, nothing major happened to me (except a deviated septum) and I grew stronger and stronger every day. I eventually did leave him and when I did, I was ready! I left that relationship with so many valuable lessons that if someone were to have stepped in and rescued me, I may have repeated this in future relationships. To this day, I have not repeated that type of relationship. I learned. I learned a very painful and hard lesson, but I learned! I walked away empowered, more confident and wiser than I was going in.
I later learned that my best friend was going through the exact same thing simultaneously as I was! I remember clearly to this day saying to her. “You do what you need to do. Only you can decide where you need to be. I will not judge you if you stay with him. I will be here if you should need me.” I said those words not to soon after I was successful in my departure from my boyfriend. I knew on some level (even being so young) that she had to do this for herself. It is painful to watch someone going through something difficult! Painful! But we can only truly provide a platform of love until they are ready to ask for and receive help. Forcing growth on someone does no good. It’s kind of like feeding a baby with a spoon. Do we continue to do it until they are an adult? No, we eventually give them the spoon and allow them to make a total mess. Eventually, they figure it out all on their own. It takes peace, strength and love to step back allow growth to happen.