This could be considered a new year’s resolution. Or, some advice from the front lines of the ‘people helping people’ industry. Or, perhaps it’s a wake up call reminding us to be mindful of who we choose as our friends.
Have you ever had someone new come into your life?
Clearly troubled and with a past that makes their present challenging, these people sometimes latch onto us, and we as fixers, latch onto them. Sometimes their life is so different from ours, so unusual that it’s easy to get caught up and fascinated with it all.
At least that’s what happened to me recently.
The trouble was, as a helper, I of course was slipping into that mode. And that was not what they wanted from me; they didn’t want me to fix them; they wanted me to come down their path; they wanted to fix me.
Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever tried to change someone else?
You may have, like me, spent much time and effort trying to create the kind of person you can be proud of, the kind of person that makes a positive difference. So, would we really want a few bad decisions influenced by someone who does not have our best interests at heart, render all that important work we’ve done meaningless?
We have to be purposeful and careful about the type of people that we spend our time with nowadays. We need to seek out others who can help us become better people; who we can continually learn and grow with, and who challenge us to be an improved version of who we were yesterday.
This person is not helping me be better, they are encouraging the opposite. This person is not good for me and even though I want to help them ‘be better’ – that is not what they are looking for.
The solution, a friendly but firm farewell. No hard feelings; and open arms for the future if something should change on their end. But for now, I need to save myself, not them.
I share this personal story with you in the hopes that you might look around in your own life and see who is there helping you be a better person and who is not. Perhaps it is time to do a clean sweep of the people in your life; time to reassess what being a friend really means; time to let go of someone who may have been a fit for you in the past, but is not any longer.
Perhaps it is time to put up some boundaries and let people know what you will and will not tolerate.
Our integrity, humanity and sometimes even our sanity is riding on this crucial decision. Start the new year with people who value you helping them grow, and who get jazzed about lifting you up to new heights.