Learning That You Can’t Save People From Themselves

May 9, 2014  |  

I love people, and it’s hard to see them suffer sometimes, especially if it’s a loved one.  So it’s normal for you to want to help your friends and family if they’re doing something (or if you’re lucky, it’s something that they’re about to do, so you can catch them).  So you might beg, plead, and tell them of all of the potential consequences that their decisions will undoubtedly lead them to.  However, as flawed as their logic is, frustrating yourself to stop them is just as flawed.

We’ve all been there, especially if it’s someone who has proven themselves to be highly intelligent in a way.  This person could have a Master’s in Chemistry, but also has enough life credits to get a Ph.D. in bad decisions with a minor in justifications and excuse making.  It’s irritating because you expect this person to know better.  It’s like having the gift of foresight, you can see the error of their ways, but they refuse to.  What’s going on?  Why are they just so determined to make decisions that are going to hinder themselves?!

The simple fact is you can’t save people from themselves.  As much as you might try, or want to, even if you lay out a fifteen point chart on why the decisions they are making now is going to affect them negatively in the future, only they can decide if they’re going to listen and act on what you’ve given them.  The sad thing is that some people are overly impulsive, some are ridiculous pigheaded, and some have already determined their plan of action and just want a cosign.  Is it right?  No, but it’s definitely the truth for some people.

Another said truth is that worrying yourself about getting through to them isn’t helping them, and only hindering you.  At the end of the day, you’re the one whose blood pressure rose, and handled lack of sleep while your friend/family member merrily and willingly skipped through a field of fire with gasoline soaked pants, and wondered why they got burned.  Some people are just adamant on making these bad decisions, and you can’t stop them.

Now I will say to offer the advice.  Show them things from an objective position, in hopes of them going in the correct path.  But the moment they begin to go down that horrible road that they think is so clear, all you can do is be a supportive person after they go through it.

Something that makes life exciting is not just the people, but the problems that everyone encounters.  From these challenges we can learn more about ourselves and attempt to smooth out our rough edges.  There are some lessons that we need to learn, and others that we don’t have to.  Through it all if there can be a positive that can be taken from a negative experience, then call it a win.  Just remember that you’ve been in a position as well where you were about to make a horrible decision that you were dead-set on, so try to have a little empathy for your wayward friend or family member.

Kendra Koger can’t save them all, but she will occasionally tweet @kkoger.

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