As proverbs go, this is one of my all time favorites.
Over the past few weeks it has been a big topic with clients, friends, family and colleagues. Many have found themselves in situations where they’ve offered advice, information, knowledge and on occasion, money, to someone they know, only to discover that it doesn’t seem to help.
The greatest of intentions
It’s tough to see people you love — or even strangers — going through a difficult time. And even if no one is asking for your help, your natural inclination may be to do whatever you can to be supportive. To lend an ear, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, some wisdom. You truly want to uplift, inspire and hopefully transform the situation. Despite your caring intentions, the person who is hurting may decide to stew in their pot.
In this case, it’s best to remind yourself of this quote in its entirety,
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Often they are unable to even see or acknowledge the unhelpful or destructive habits that are causing the issue. And next thing you know, you’re watching them as they run 100mph, face first into a brick wall. Aargh!
We’ve all experienced similar situations. That’s usually why we’re so adamant about being of service. In the midst of it all you may choose to help pick up the pieces or you may decide to move on. Although I cannot tell you what to do, what I can do is share a few thoughts that have helped to guide me in similar situations.
A few things to remember:
1. Everything is unfolding perfectly
I know, it may sound a bit woo-woo. But I’ve found this to be true for me even during the worst of times. At a certain point, I’m able to look back and see how an event positively affected me or shifted my awareness in some profound way. Notable change happens because of your experience. Let them have theirs.
2. People aren’t ready until they are ready
No matter what you say, do, or share, most people will not and do not make shifts until they are ready or until they’ve had more than enough of a negative experience. Keeping this in mind fosters healthy detachment. Knowing that you’ve done all that you can and that they will make the shift that’s appropriate for them simply frees you up. They decide, not you.
3. You don’t know everything
It’s a simple truth, but sometimes we forget and start to think we have all the answers. Although I’ve experienced and witnessed an immense amount of personal transformation over the years, I constantly remind myself that everyone’s experience is unique. And believe me, it is. We don’t always know what’s best or what’s on the other side for them.
4. Be the evidence
We often get the essence of this by way of the popular Gandhi quote, “Be the Change.” The idea is to live your life in such a way that allows you to be a more fully engaged, happier, healthier person who personifies possibility. When they see the evidence, they are more likely to pay attention and explore possibility for themselves.
5. Send them blessings
Once you’ve done all you can on your end, send them love, a kind word, a wish, or a prayer. According to physicists, everything is energy, and your thoughts go a long way. I often use a blessing from one of my favorite writers to declare that they are divinely protected and that all is unfolding for their highest good and for the good of all involved.
I often use these ideas for myself. I struggle too. We all do. Which is why compassion and love are the underlying forces for everything I do. I realize there are so many more tips, tools and ideas around this issue, so I’d love it if you’d share your comments or thoughts.
P.S. – If you’ve happened upon these words and want to sign up for my MindRealign updates, you can do that here. A few times a month I’ll be sharing tips, tools, information and inspiration to Realign Your Mind. You’ll also receive my FREE 15-minute Rest+De-Stress audio! Thank you :-).