Everyone has shortcomings, we all make mistakes. Human nature is to mess up and hopefully learn from it, but it is also human nature to care and get invested in others. No one can survive or have success on their own, you need to surround yourself with people who will also have their own shortcomings and make their own mistakes. What do you do for them?
Of course you lend a hand, offer advice and support but it ultimately is never really up to you. People can only make changes and improvements if they want to. As a football fan look at the whole Antonio Brown saga from this year. Dude was on a Hall of Fame path and had 30 million dollars guaranteed from the Oakland Raiders and blew it. Then got another 10 million guaranteed from the New England Patriots and kept acting a fool. So much generational wealth and he wouldn’t stop actin’ a fool.
I’m a bigger guy and want to lose weight. I have some awesome help from my girlfriend when it comes to meal prepping and making healthier food options, but it’s still on me to not overeat and get to the gym. That improvement is solely on me. For her, when we started dating she wanted help figuring out her finances. I gave her the tips I use but it’s up to her to put them in to practice.
Now, you could probably take more control and manage it and maybe that would work, but is the person really learning? You now have to double up on managing for yourself and someone else. If you love and care maybe you take it on, but you shouldn’t have to. I want the best for the people around me but they also should want it for themselves.
Selfishness is often times considered a dirty word, and just like most things it can be if in excess, but being selfish isn’t always bad. One of the sayings I really take to heart is “You can’t provide peace for others if you don’t have peace for yourself.” You can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. You should be able to count on people when you’re in a rut or a down time but you also need to look out for yourself. If you’re having financial problems and are trying to help someone else with financial problems then you can’t improve your situation and risk making it worse for yourself.
Another taboo word is therapy, and that’s absolutely choosing to seek help. When I was in college I was disowned by a parent, in financial trouble, going through a bad break up and really not in a good position. Luckily a family member urged me to seek help and went above and beyond to help me feel comfortable with going to therapy. I was anxious at first but got comfortable very quick finally finding help that I needed. It saved me from a very dark time.
Back in March I wrote about My Little Black Book, and it’s not a list of phone numbers. It’s a journal I kept while I was going through that very difficult time and things got very dark. I was finally comfortable sharing the story and all I hoped was that hearing my story and how I found help and was able to pull myself out of the hole would help someone. This week I received a tweet from someone that was very inspired by the post and let me know that after reading it they found the boost they needed to go get help. This meant so much to me and I can honestly say it’s definitely my proudest blogging moment and probably my proudest radio moment.
You can give advice and offer help but it is ultimately up to the person who needs help to find help. “God helps those that help themselves.” Nothing is going to just come to you. There’s no magic instant solution, you have to invest the time and effort and you have to really want to improve and fix things.