I decided to pull a card today from Louise L Hay’s Wisdom cards.
“I do not try to heal my friends. I do my own mental work and heal myself. This is the best thing I can do for others.”
Boundaries. Boundaries are one of the most important things that you’ll ever create in your life. They’ll define how others treat you and how you treat yourself and how you treat other people.
One of those boundaries that you will come across is wanting to change someone. Fix someone. Make someone better than they already are.
This is not your job.
I know. I really do know. It’s for their own good. You know better. If they just did xyz they would be so much happier. You know how to fix that problem. They should learn from your mistakes. They need you to help them. If only they’d just listen to you…
And all of that might be true.
It’s still not your job.
You can be there to support, to listen, to encourage, and to advise. When someone is ready to help themselves you can be their biggest cheerleader, their guide, and their mentor.
But please remember:
You can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves.
You can’t make someone ready to change.
You can’t do the work for them.
You are not in charge of their recovery.
Even if it’s for their own good. Even if it would make them happier or healthier. It’s not about what you want for them. It’s about what they want for themselves and how badly they want it. Give them unconditional love (with a healthy dose of boundaries) but all you can do for someone else is control how you relate to them.
Five or six years ago when I first started getting into self love and self care I went all in (as I usually do with all things). I read tons of books, I visited websites daily, I listened to podcasts all of the time, I started eating healthier and exercising and for the first time in a long time, I felt happy.
And I looked at my friends, who were depressed like I used to be, who were just muddling through life without direction like I used to be, and I decided that they should change too. They’d be sooooo much happier if they did this and did that. I suddenly discovered all of these wonderful things like how to actually communicate, how to let go of grudges, how to move past the things that were keeping me from liking myself and all of these other wonderful tools and I wanted to share them. I wanted them to be like me.
I didn’t want to go through the journey alone.
Sometimes, when you change, you can’t take people on the journey with you. You leave them behind. Yeah, it sucks, but sometimes we outgrow people and that’s okay. I was no longer the same person who spent all of my time complaining about my life and participating in drama and needed others to make me feel loved and worthwhile.
My whole life changed and I didn’t fit anymore.
I wish I hadn’t been so pushy. My heart was in the right place but in my quest to fix other people what I really ended up doing was alienating them and making them feel like they weren’t enough as they were. Which was never my intention. I am now five years into doing this work. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve practiced a lot. It has completely and irrevocably changed my life. And I want that for the people I love. I want them to love themselves. I want them to make choices that are good for them. I want them to stop being self-destructive. I want them to be happy.
But it’s not about what I want.
What this card means is that all we can do for people is try to be the best version of ourselves for them. To be a source of support and comfort and shoulders to cry on. To love unconditionally. That is how we truly heal other people. Not by controlling them or commanding them or trying to bend them to our will, but by embodying what we most wish for them. By showing them that it’s possible to love yourself and love your body by doing those things ourselves. It rubs off on the people around you. It has a trickle effect. And when they’re ready, the change happens.
What are your thoughts or experiences with trying to fix others?