I’m going to tell you one of the simple facts of life darling: no matter how hard you try, you cannot change another person. I know, we all secretly want to be Wonder Woman and rescue folks. Especially folks we love. But we just can’t and here’s why.
You can influence them with how you treat them and what you say to them. You can support their dreams and nourish them. Inspiration is something each of us can do by being a good example, allowing them to model a behavior. And who doesn’t love helping someone see the light as they discover truth or awareness.
You can listen to their challenges and offer feedback if asked. Better yet, you can facilitate their discovery of what they most need. And hand them a tool box and assist with resources. We bear witness to others and can guide them on a path to growth.
But you cannot create change within that person, Wonder Woman.
Each person, no matter how old or young, must find their own sense of purpose, heart’s desires, and their own happiness.
Of course, I believe that the individuals in each of our lives can enhance our happiness or deepen our sense of purpose in the world. We humans are wired to connect with others. So partners and friends are a necessary part of living a good life. Because I’ve learned that we have a human need to be loved and to belong.
But the truth of the matter is, no matter how deeply we desire to be Wonder Woman (or Superman), we are, at our deepest and basest level, unable to “rescue” someone. Now don’t take me too literally. I’m not talking about ignoring a person that’s drowning in the lake or has been in a car accident. Oh, no. Not at all. We need our firefighters and rescuers in that sense.
I am talking about trying to be Wonder Woman, swooping in, and rescuing a person from themselves.
And if you are in any kind of nurturing or care-giving capacity: parent, coach, therapist, nurse, fireman, police woman, massage therapist, energy worker, etc…. you are going to, at least once in your life, cross paths of someone that you could rescue.
So, here are some truths about rescuing others.
- Rescuing enables and encourages destructive choices. It tells a person that they can choose destructive actions, behavior and words and there will never be consequences.
- The cycle of drama will always escalate when someone is repeatedly rescued.
- Rescuing encourages people to blame others for their lot in life. It exasperates the belief that they are “owed” for existing. That, because they were born, they are entitled to having exactly what they want, without the regard for other souls on this planet.
- When you rescue someone, it teaches them that they can say hateful things and purposefully destroy things and that the behavior is acceptable.
- Rescuing reinforces a person’s poor choices.
- It also reinforces the belief that one person knows what is “best” for everyone else in their lives.
- Rescuing affirms that you must sacrifice your own mental and emotional well being in order to save someone from themselves.
And I will be nakedly honest here: when you get to that moment when your soul and instinct realizes that an action is crossing the boundary of help and into the land of rescue, it will break your fucking heart to say no.
You will know, at your core, that to choose to rescue a person in order to “fix” their world, it will destroy the life you have cultivated. Because, my dear Wonder Woman, sometimes, the best thing in the world we can do for someone is to allow them to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Our minds will play with us and we may feel guilt or shame or feel as if we have failed in some way. We will play the “what if” games and the “I should have done” scenarios in our minds.
And yes, this means that it is quite possible that someone that you love may have to hit rock bottom.
We can offer assistance. We can offer support and love and extend grace. But to swoop in and rescue means that you believe that you have the power to change a person.
Never hesitate to offer a ray of hope, unconditional love, acceptance, faith, or understanding. This is the energy that you need. But darling, rescuing is a different energy. I’m not saying that you need to stop helping folks. Good heavens, no.
People need kindness and love and compassion. But sometimes, rescuing someone isn’t the kind thing to do for them. In fact, it can be harmful. Delaying the moment when another person chooses to cultivate the best life for themselves.
Delaying the moment when someone stops seeing themselves as a victim and steps up in their own life.
Delaying when someone stops blaming everyone else for their unhappiness and makes the decision that their life is their own to create.
So, even if it causes you deep pain, there may be a day where you use your golden lasso on yourself and realize that by rescuing someone, it would actually harm them and shatter you.