“If I’m not part of the problem or I’m not part of the solution, then it doesn’t belong to me!”
I did it again. I jumped into a situation that didn’t belong to me! I’ll spare you the ugly details but I’m curious if this ever happens to you?
Here are some examples:
- A friend is telling you about a circumstance they are currently dealing with, and when they stop to take a breath, you jump in with a list of all the solutions and action steps they need to take.
- Your spouse orders a cheeseburger and french fries. You interrupt and suggest he change his order to something healthier.
- Your high school student doesn’t feel like doing his homework but needs the grade to get the scholarship and acceptance into the college you want him to attend. You nag him until an angry argument explodes.
- Your young adult daughter decides instead of getting a job or planning for her future, she’s going to take some time off and hang out with people who are not making the wisest choices for their life. You want the best for her, so you continue to give her money, clean her room, and worry effortlessly as you track her whereabouts on your phone’s GPS.
While some of these examples may seem silly and the thought of doing any of these things do not come close to what you and I would do, I wonder how many times do you and I intervene in a situation that doesn’t belong to us? I wonder how often do you and I try to control the outcome of other people’s choices? How often do we attempt to subtly manipulate the circumstances hoping for an outcome that fits our desires? How often do we offer our opinion when it’s not asked?
A friend was laughing the other day as she told me about her husband advising her that she had gained a lot of weight. I asked why this was funny? She replied, “Doesn’t he realize I look in the mirror every day and can see this fact clearly”?
What situations have you possibly stepped into recently?
A wise mentor once told me…..
“If I’m not part of the problem or I’m not part of the solution, then it doesn’t belong to me!” In other words, “I step back and stay out, unless I’m asked.”
The truth is, we all want the best outcome for those we love. Often, it seems appropriate to jump in and control the situation, so that you and I and those we love can all move on with life happily ever after. The problem is…. when you and I step into something that does not belong to us, we interfere with another person’s opportunity to be free, the right to make their own choices, and the chance to grow and learn valuable life lessons. Yes, sometimes difficult, and painful lessons.
I can’t speak for you, but I do not want to take freedom away from those I love. So, what’s the answer?
So, what is the answer?
For me, it’s realizing and accepting the fact that life can be painful and is sometimes hard. It is also recognizing that it’s okay to give myself permission to sit with the discomfort I may be feeling as I allow my loved one to make their own decisions that seem right for them.
While there is no black or white answer, asking yourself the following questions may help you understand better what belongs to you and what does not……. When to step back and stay silent, and when to step forward and speak up.
Does a loved one just need me to listen? Have they asked me for my thoughts? Have I asked, “How can I help you”?
Who is invested more in the outcome of a loved one’s choice? Me or them?
If I interfere, do I allow them to have freedom of choice…. even if the outcome could be less than I desire?
If I do not interfere, what growth or life lesson opportunity might my loved one be given?
Is what I am about to help my loved one with something they can do on their own?
What do I truly have control over?
Each day, I have the pleasure of walking beside coaching clients as they discover how to live a life setting healthy boundaries regardless of the situation around them. If you would like this, I would love to have a conversation with you!
You and Your loved one’s life matters!
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