This episode is about helping people instead of being a savior. Candace is a health practitioner suffering from work-related anxiety. She is wondering how to decrease the amount of anxiety that comes from feeling responsible for helping people, and she questions whether or not she is good enough to truly help them. We cover why we should not take on the responsibility of helping others, why it’s important to be of service, and not a savior, and what is truly at the root of a desire to help or save others.
I asked Candace why she worked in a health and service position. She said it makes her feel she has a purpose. Having a purpose is wonderful, but when your purpose is tied to core issues from your past — you are attempting to heal through your work — you will perpetuate an unhealthy attachment to your work, and you may suffer from anxiety or not-enoughness.
Her unresolved hurts around her emotionally unavailable parents are creating a huge attachment to her work, and anytime we have huge attachment, we feel a huge burden of responsibility, which creates self-doubt, because we are taking on way too much responsibility. We become saviors instead of truly being of service.
It’s not our responsibility to make sure people change, and it is not our responsibility to make sure they don’t suffer. I know it hurts to watch other people suffering, but we can not take away other people’s pain.
By holding a space for the suffering, instead of taking it on, we can truly help by way of compassion. The more comfortable we get with our own suffering, the more we can hold a space of love and compassion for others.
If we take on the belief that it is our responsibility to fix someone, then we assume they are broken, and not equipped to heal themselves. One of the biggest gifts we can give to others is to see them as whole, and having all the inner resources they need. People save themselves.
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- Do you enjoy helping people? Do you find yourself overinvested in making sure they change or heal?
- Does your sense of worthiness or value come from being needed by others or helping others?
- If you are in a helping profession, do you ever feel like a fraud, or like you don’t have what it takes to truly help?
- Do you suffer from anxiety at work, or do you ever feel depleted or drained after being with someone who is struggling or suffering?
Candace wants to free herself from the anxiety she feels from her alternative health work.
Candace’s Key Insights and Ahas:
- Helping people gives her purpose.
- She had to beg for attention as a child.
- She is trying to give others the attention she didn’t get as a child.
- She feels emotionally drained at the end of the day.
- She is continuing to do to herself what her parents did to her.
- She has anger towards her father.
How to Get Over It and On With It:
- She should recognize it is not her responsibility for her patients to get better or for her to fix them.
- She should stop projecting her fears onto the people, and give them the dignity of their process.
- She should make a list of her new beliefs about her clients.
- She should make a list of self-care practices she will start, stop, and modify.
- Use Expectation Hangover to work through forgiving her parents.
- Give your younger self the attention and love he or she needs.
- Move into forgiveness of anyone from your past who is reinforcing a negative pattern of taking on responsibility.
- Get crystal clear on what your responsibility is, and what is not your responsibility.
- Up your self-care game. Pick one thing you want to stop doing, one thing you want to start doing, and one thing you want to modify or change. Do it for 40 days.
- Share this episode if you feel someone else could benefit from hearing this information.
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“How to Not Take on Someone Else’s Pain” Blogpost
Coaches Corner — How to Set Healthy Boundaries
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