Don’t Push

A friend of mine recently made a drastic life change for the better. Boom. Just like that.

I’d been wanting him to make this change for well over a decade. I’ve been worried about him. I’ve been watching his self-destruction and feeling absolutely helpless about it for so long that it had become part of my routine.

Yes, I had talked to him about the situation. He listened. He got angry. I didn’t want to turn into a nag and completely push him out of my life. But I had to make my opinion clear, and so I did. Case closed. Nothing changed.

He is a full grown adult, capable of making his own choices. He was hurting himself much more than he was hurting anyone else. Yes, it was painful to watch, but it wasn’t impactful, per se, on others. So on life went.

The hands-off approach was the best one in this instance, based on the carefully gathered statistics that I’ve accumulated over a lifetime:

  • Number of people whom I’ve convinced to take my advice for their overall betterment: 0.

  • Number of people whom I’ve been worried about who have made changes on their own: A miraculous quantity, slightly higher than 0.

And the hands-off approach turns out to have been much, much better for my own mental health, too. When all is said and done, I still have a friend. That’s definitely a plus.

Yes, I realize that this isn’t a one size fits all scenario. Your results may vary. Life and relationships and situations are way too complex to resolve within the confines of this little blog post.

Even so, I really think I’m on to something here. I may have to try applying it to other areas of my life. I think that if I shut my pie hole a little more often, the world will be a much better place. At least for me. Plant a seed with people, yes, but then back off and let them decide if it will take root or not.

Now, to keep from telling him “I told you so.” That’s a separate challenge entirely, but it pairs well with the shutting my pie hole plan. Wish me luck.

Letting go

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