Monday, November 18, 2013

Stop Fixing It For Them

Have you ever met a person that continues to make enormous messes of their life?  Have you seen the friends and family around them?  Don't they look more stressed about the problems that this other person has created?  Why do we continue to pick up the pieces that someone else has broken?  Just stop.

I was reading the book Boundaries recently, and the author told a story of parents whose son has yet to find steady employment and was horrible with money.  The author said that the son didn't have a problem, the parents did.  To the son, his life was perfect.  He could continue to live irresponsibly and his parents would always be there to bail him out.  The parents problem was that they had taken on their sons problems as their own.  That is the sort of attitude that we should take with people in our life.  Stop taking on other peoples problems as your own.  Have a friend that never plans for a babysitter, and then calls you at the last minute?   Say no!

In life we have to be wise to know what problems are ours and which ones are someone else's.  If you can figure that out, then the problems of others will not be nearly as burdensome.  If someone expects you to come in and clean up their messes then they are using you.  When a person makes a poor decision, the only way they learn from it is to experience the natural consequences that come along with that.  When we step in and clean up their messes then they don't learn.  They will continue to make the same mistake, until someone says enough is enough.

It is one of the most unloving thing that you can do to clean up someone else's mess.  You may think you are doing it for their good, but you are crippling them.  When a similar situation comes along, then they will make the same poor decision and end up with a similar result.  Just stop fixing it for them.

People talk about enabling behaviors like they only apply to addictions.  Enabling behaviors apply to all manner of irresponsible behavior.   So when someone you care about has made an enormous mess of things, before you jump in to rescue them, think if you will be cheating them out of a learning experience.  Let them clean up their own messes, and you will feel an immense amount of relief.  Just stop fixxing it for them.

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