Have you ever run into this problem? A friend of yours comes to you for help. You really care for this person and do not want to see them hurting anymore, so you do your best to help them. A week, or maybe even sooner, they are back with the same problem. I know a person who does really ill-advised things when they drink alcohol. They come to me with lines such as, “I wish I would have never said that.” or ” I wish I would have never done that.” With as much compassion as I can muster, I offer the suggestion that perhaps they should stop drinking. “You are right. I should.” A week later…same story. When you mention the fact that they were going to give up the thing that was causing the problems in their life, they have a range of excuses. They were going to. They thought they could control themselves.
Maybe you have a friend that is trying to get in shape and wants to work out with you. Meet me at the gym after work and we will workout together you offer. That time comes and they had a tough day at work and just want to relax at home. Maybe they are unwilling to give up eating junk food and drinking soda. Yet as they are slamming Mountain Dew with one had and eating a doughnut in the other, they are also complaining about how they just can’t seem to lose weight. Spending your time developing a workout routine or nutrition plan with these folks may not be the best investment of your time.
The hard truth is this – if someone is not willing to help themselves by letting go what is holding them down, there is little you can do for them. It is like tossing someone a life preserver who is still hanging on to an anchor. A friend that is not intent on getting out of that relationship that is bringing them down, yet they always ask you why they are not happy. Until they are willing to help themselves, you cannot help them no matter how hard you try. It will only end up with you feeling as defeated as them.
There is one caveat to this. If the person you are trying to help is genuinely working hard on changing but is having a difficult time. You can perhaps work with them to develop a plan to help them succeed. If you see a person really desires to change but is lacking the knowledge how, encouragement and working with them is a noble and great thing to do. Just be aware there are those who want others to fix their lives for them. Unless they are willing to let go of the negative in their life, any positive you offer them will be of little to no use.