A lot of people make their living helping other people. My husband helps people with their exercising, diet, nutrition. My dad helps people with their emotional and mental health. Ultimately, we are all most fulfilled by serving others. However, what I have been contemplating is how we can be of service and meet people – where they are at, without pushing them to be something they are not capable of being, at least not yet.
We seem to set expectations of people to follow our paths, or learn from what we have learned. Yet we know inherently that people learn best through experience. So, I am working on teaching by example and then allowing others to learn their own way rather than me telling them. Yet there is still a fine balance in this dance between showing and allowing. Story does a better job of explaining something to someone than simply stating facts. We cannot always learn by experience because there is a lot to learn that we just cannot enact in our day to day lives. There are no real truths besides the ones we believe, and each of us believes different truths.
So, where do we draw the line between lending a helping hand when people ask for it, knowing how much information is enough, and allowing people to just find their own path, from their own teachers, on their own journey?
The best that I have come up with is the answer of proximity. With my daughters, I must tell occasionally, show most of the time, allow them to experience by mirroring my actions (oh the responsibility of this!) as well as having experiences themselves – in their own time.
With my relationships and people who confide in me, I must be less eager to share what I know. This is harder to do than I realized. I want to improve on only sharing when asked or when truly adding value. With my work I must create and share what needs to be created and shared, without expectation of how it will be received. That is also really hard to allow.
The one thing that I know for certain (ha!) is that for many people if you push them too hard, they will stumble. Whether we respond to outward feelings of being pushed or pushing ourselves too hard. Either way, making progress is up to us individually, we cannot force it on others. They will feel more fear than they need to feel. They will not make as much progress because they will be spending more time on worry than on action. They will start comparing and judging and sinking to levels that are not healthy or productive for anyone. It is so easy to fall into these patterns, that it is the basis for how many people live. I cannot do anything about that besides change myself.
Today, I chose to push less so that I can move forward in steps rather than stubbing my toes on rocks.