Newsflash: Other people don't need your help as much as you think they do.
If you fix someone else’s problems, that person loses an opportunity to mature, and you will feel the sting of that loss, sooner or later.
Can we agree on that?
We all know spoiled kids (and adults) whose parents “fix” their troubles at school, take care of their tickets, and give them money because they are too immature to hold a job and earn a living!
And they are usually nasty to their enabling parents.
I have discovered an even more subtle version of this that I call “taking on the burden of needs.”
If you suffer from this malady, you likely aren’t aware of it. But you do wonder why you can’t fix a health problem … wonder why you experience relationship drama when you are so dang helpful.
But the stress burden is so subtle that it becomes a part of who you are.
The emotional “needs” you likely are killing yourself to fill are trust, connection/love, contribution, significance, and growth.
This is not an absolute list, just an opinion that I heard that seems to fit well in the "Five Elements" system I use.
If I find a system that practically improves my stress, I consider it valuable. Here are some practical ways to know you are suffering from debilitating stress trying to fill these needs.
We have to feel like we can count on a stability of our world and environment.
An earthquake not only shakes the earth, but also our trust and significantly increases our stress. Without certainty or trust, we experience worry and anxiety.
Do you carry the burden of others worry and anxiety? Do you put energy into soothing someone’s fear?
Isolation and feeling unloved massively increases our stress. Without love we experience loneliness and low self esteem. It is hard enough to nurture our own relationships.
It is like a 50 pound backpack to carry the burden of someone else’s loneliness! Do you use your time to make sure others feel included in a group?
It is important to our wellbeing to feel like we are contributing to a greater good. A family, a community, even the world.
The more you contribute, the more you thrive! It is a challenge to find our own talents and gifts, and then offer them to humanity.
Do you carry the burden of someone else’s incompetence? Do you pick up the slack of slackness?
It is energizing to feel like you are an important component of a family or community, to feel like you are of high value.
The more value you feel in a group, the more energy you have! Do you take on the burden of others’ insignificance?
Do you expend energy trying to get others to feel inherent value in themselves?
It is expanding and vitalizing to “earn” growth, to feel like you are solving problems and gathering wisdom.
The more wisdom you accumulate, the more confidence you feel! Do you take on others’ struggles?
Do you burden yourself with solving problems for other people?
Once you know what you are looking for, it will be obvious.
You will notice the heaviness of your efforts. And you must stop for the greater good.
People MUST experience their RESULTS to expand and improve.
Leave their results where they belong — with them. Allow them to feel the anxiety, the loneliness, the incompetence, the insignificance, the struggle.
Feeling the pain stimulates the decision to take action. The number one reason that people change their diet to healthy foods is having a heart attack.
It got their attention, they felt the pain and they change.
Keep reminding yourself of the growth in the pain. Don't ever wish away your own pain or growth.
Empathizing leaves the pain where it belongs.
I see you banging your head into the wall. I see a bruise and a little blood forming. I bet that hurts like crazy. I remember when I was beating my head into the wall. That pain was unbearable!
Empowering leaves the pain where it belongs.
I see you banging your head into the wall. Does that hurt? I see a bruise and a little blood forming. Does that concern you? What are you going to do about it? You have to make a choice, it is YOUR head bleeding. Only you can change. Would you like my advice?
Teaching leaves the pain where it belongs.
Wow, you wanted me to know how upset you are so you screamed at me. If you want me to hear your upset, say ‘I am so upset because….' and I will be happy to hear your pain. Would you be willing to share your upset with me or even about me in that way?
Start today. Identify what needs of others you take on, and instead of trying to remove or avoid the pain they have, EMPHASIZE it!
Let them experience it.
Point it out to them, over and over (empathetically). Urge them to make a different choice.
And hold them accountable to your preferences.
This will secure your boundaries and lead to increased health and happiness.
It will facilitate the growth you wish for the person in the challenge. And it will serve the greater good.