One of the most frustrating things a lot of us come across in life is resistance when we try to lend a genuine helping hand. This normally comes from people who won’t help themselves. We’ve all been in a situation where we know someone who is displaying self-destructive tendencies. They continue down the same path making the same bad decisions and repeatedly complain about it. So naturally, you have the third-person insight to try to offer some genuinely helpful advice.
The person seems receptive, even interested in what you have to say. A week or two goes by and this person still has the same problem. You’ll ask, “What happened with doing XYZ like we talked about?” and get nothing but a lame excuse or justification for why they did the same thing again. Then they will have the nerve to complain in detail about their plight.
In very big on the “whys” of life, you could say they even keep me up at night. So let’s dive into why people act in this frustrating manner:
We as humans, are very prideful people. We tend to think of ourselves in a solipsistic way which in Lehman’s terms, means only one’s own mind is sure to exist. We are kind of like the main characters of life in our minds. So when an outside idea or suggestion comes our way that contradicts our actions, its natural to resist or disregard it and continue our habits.
Now that we have identified the “why” of this behavior, what can actually be done to resolve this issue? How can we get them to just see our point of view and use the solution we gave them? The short answer is, you can’t. You will have little success in trying to do so.
“So just like that? Let someone I care about go down the path of destruction?” Look, I’m not saying just flat-out give up on the person. Maybe the second time they will realize that your advice might be a better choice than what they have been doing. It’s just very unlikely if they are stuck in their ways or let their emotions control their actions instead of reason and logic.
The Other Cost
There is a cost to you as well. If you continue to try to help someone who will not reciprocate you will not only waste your own time, but may also find yourself stressed or angry about it. “I’m telling this idiot exactly what they need to do and they won’t do it! Then they complain about it!” It can be insanely frustrating to anyone with a more logical personality.
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to let life happen to this person. The hardest but most effective way for someone to learn a lesson or change their ways, is through their own mind. Your mind could work in an entirely different way than theirs does. They don’t know what you know, they haven’t seen what you’ve seen. I’m not giving these people a pass, I’m just trying to construe the differences between your logic.
The Other Side Of The Coin
So what if you have someone who actually took your advice and it didn’t work out? You continue to help that person. They have already shown you that they value what you have to say, and gave it a shot. They are genuinely trying to make a change and not complaining anymore, they want to fix a problem.
The truth is, there is a good chance this person would have tried to resolve their issue on their own, even without your advice. That doesn’t mean you can’t try to help anyway. You may have something to offer that they didn’t think of or didn’t know about. It is ultimately their drive and determination that will be the deciding factor. Problems not acted on go unsolved.
If you need a real world example of this post, use my blog as one. I provide advice and wisdom that may genuinely help others. I have received positive feedback and emails from people who took what they found here and made a positive change. There’s one thing though:
They found my blog. I didn’t go banging down their doors or shove it in their faces like a cheap salesmen. They went and searched the keywords and browsed the correct forums for self-improvement. The blog was only a tool. Those who made a positive change did it because they WANTED TO.
As much as we all want to be heroes and save the people in our lives from themselves, realize that only we can save ourselves. Others can nearly provide the tools for us, and we have a choice whether to use them or not.
Do not cause yourself undue stress over other people who won’t help themselves. Extend the olive branch to them and if they take it, do what you can to aid them. Give them the push they need and the encouragement to do better. Just don’t force it on them.
Until next time – The Simple Bachelor
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