“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” – Doctor Who
So many times, when we see someone suffering or lost or struggling or cycling, we want to help. We want to help them heal, help them grow, help them get further help. We want to . . . well, fix it, somehow. Even if just a little bit.
The goal is to come alongside someone and help them end up on a better path than when they first met us.
And that’s admirable.
Yet, if we don’t have a proper perspective on what our role is, we can get stuck being so invested in someone else’s well-being that we jeopardize our own. What I mean by this is if you come alongside someone who doesn’t want to or isn’t yet ready to be fixed, and you come at it with the goal of seeing that person better off, you both may end up in a worse spot for your attempt. One, because this person may need to be in that space they are in for a moment or perhaps discover their own solution, and, two, because you spend a lot of time and energy only to realize your goal will never be achieved.
So what do you do? Stop helping people? Stunt the desire to see others better off? Withdraw instead of reach out?
Nope! Of course not. Instead, I’m suggesting a shift in perspective, prompted by a quote I heard uttered recently in a very powerful Doctor Who episode titled “Vincent and the Doctor.”
Your job is to add good things to someone else’s pile. To put your wonderful self into the world and care. To grow your dream, to share it, to embrace others. To show compassion and mercy and humility and empathy. To offer knowledge and wisdom when appropriate and to know when to stay silent and sit at someone’s side.
Your job isn’t to do this for the end goal of the other person changing. That can be your hope, but that, ultimately, is *their* goal and their job. Can you help? Absolutely. But if you get invested in the solution and then despair when it isn’t reached, what do you have to show for it? An unrealized goal.
However, if you offer energy and time and love, just for the sake of giving something good to someone, even if it lasts no more than a moment, then you walk away with so much more. You walk away knowing you’ve created countless beautiful moments for someone. You walk away knowing you cared. You walk away feeling less discouraged and less attached to the outcome, and the person you’re offering these things to may feel less of a burden to change in a time or manner that isn’t right for what they need.
What do you think?: How can you shift your perspective from one of fixing to one of adding to the pile of good things? How does that shift change the way you view the situation?