A Day in a Life: When Suffering Is Appropriate & Taking Back Our Energy

There is beauty in the darkness too... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
There is beauty in the darkness too…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do when someone we care about deeply is suffering. We want to rush in to help, to fix or to alleviate the suffering in any way we can. We often have a clearer perspective, looking in from the outside, and so we might want to advise or prescribe what we think needs to happen. It’s hard not to judge, criticize, or blame others and think that only we are right. In some cases, however, it’s pretty obvious that help is needed, that immediate attention is called for, and it is appropriate then to give it, but more often than not our input rarely helps. This is a hard fact to accept.

How many times have we told so-and-so that if they don’t stop their destructive behavior they are sure to suffer irreparable damage, even death? Have they really listened, taken in our advice, and changed in any way?

How many times have we been confronted by the dear one who can only whine and blame others for their difficulties? Does it really help to point out to them their own part in creating their suffering situation?

How many times have we sent a needy individual money, only to be called upon again and again with increasingly unrealistic reasons for the monetary need? We have to wonder if we are only enabling them, keeping them in a state of infantile entitlement for our own purposes. We might find it hard to let them fail, but in so doing we are holding them back from creating their own fulfilling life, far beyond anything we could ever provide.

When we rush in to help we often alleviate only our own discomfort and in the process take away from the loved one the full responsibility for taking control of their own lives. We take away their joy in accomplishing what once seemed impossible, what they dream of. We take away their opportunity to encounter what lies deep inside them too, the issues that produce their difficulties and their suffering, what they must face to become mature beings in the world.

Doing the busy work of taking responsibility... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Doing the busy work of taking responsibility…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

If we attempt to solve or fix the lives of others without their full participation, we take away their own responsibility for creating their own lives and taking their own journeys. Often they will fail to fully launch into life. They will remain dependent and needy and thus in our rush to help we have in fact done them a disservice. We deny them the opportunity to experience and face their own troubles as we have had to experience and face ours, for these are the things that help us mature into responsible human beings.

In looking back over our own lives we can track where we too had moments of suffering or crisis and how in dealing with them maturely we have moved beyond them. We had to learn the hard way that if we face what comes to greet us each day, with maturity, sobriety, and pragmatism, we learn that we can handle anything. And that is empowering!

In reality, we are personally better off letting others sit and contemplate their own dilemmas until they get to the moment of decision and determine their own course of action. This can be a tense time, but pretty soon all of our patient waiting pays off.

We might notice how life itself tends to the issues at hand in a most natural way. This natural process may arrive as a perceived disaster, but as things unfold we see that what once was thought of as disastrous is actually the very thing that offers the biggest and most lasting change. How many times have we heard people say that their worst experiences have led them to their most amazing experiences: to the meeting of their true love, to the discovery of their true profession, their true talents? Often our most painful experiences are our most enlightening, leading us into previously unimaginable new life.

If we remain stuck in our role of enabler then our energy remains stuck too. In serving others to the extent that we become energetically depleted, we allow them to take priority over ourselves, and that is not good business nor a good position to be in. If we are drained we have little to keep us going and even less to give. Our spirits recede, our involvement in life decreases and our motivation dies. If we are to remain vital, active, and fully participatory in life, we must take care of how we use our energy.

Energetically freed to really bloom! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Energetically freed to really bloom!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

As we free our energy from perceived duties—duties that we have given ourselves for whatever reason—we are free to live our own lives. If we free our attachment to people, places and things that are no longer useful or important in the life we live now, our energy is returned to us in abundance.

In simplifying our lives by clearing ourselves of both inner and outer encumbrances, we also free others from having to be encumbered by us, by what we think they need or want. And then we are all freed to take our journeys to fulfillment!

There is always some energy-freeing to be done!

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