The one sure-fire way to turn friends into strangers is by trying to rescue them.
A friend and I were having a chat the other day, and we realised that we both suffered from the same affliction. We’re rescuers. We like to ride in on our horse like a knight and save the day. We agreed that it was a sad attempt to seek validation from others to feel useful.
I’ll tell you this much: the rescuing affliction has brought me and the person I’m trying to rescue more frustration and hurt than it’s worth. It has lost me more friends than any other mischief I’ve ever gotten up to.
“No good deed goes unpunished.” Oscar Wilde
One of the primary ways I rescue is by giving of my one small talent: free marketing and sales advice.
It occurred to me that even though some people say they want help at some level they really don’t want to be helped. And, it goes deeper than that; they can’t be helped. Not because they’re not worthy of help but because they’re not in a place where they can accept help. Sometimes they’re located in loathing, shame, apathy, hatred, guilt and anger. These lower frequencies allow no space for help.
I had three interesting experiences with friends within a week while trying to help them with marketing advice. The detail is not important here; suffice it to say that all three thought that my advice was going to add too much friction and complexity to their lives.
The rascal called ego thought, “Let’s see how much friction and complexity you have in your life if your business tanks.”
“Help me help you.” Jerry Macguire
I didn’t take an affront to their attitudes because I know they’re doing the best they can with what they have, and where they’re at. I can’t help them until they’re ready. It’s not lost on me that this is the biggest arrogance – that I think that they need help, and that I’m the one to help them.
I may not be able to help them, and I probably shouldn’t because they’re where they need to be, but I can love them. And, here’s a thought I can love me by not rescuing others. Rescuing myself is already a challenging task. All the time I spend helping and rescuing others, I could spend on myself. Maybe that’s how I can move the dial on consciousness for the brief time I get to play here?
Of course, you’re smart enough to know that I’m not talking about marketing help. I’m talking about all the people in our lives that we’re trying to help, including family, friends, and strangers. They can’t be helped until they have the courage to be helped. But they can be loved. Let’s do that, you and I, let’s love them. And, better yet, let’s love ourselves.