Forceful lessons

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I’ve spoken before in these articles about how frustrating my job can be when a client fails to understand or see what I am seeing as the clear path ahead to their success and happiness. It doesn’t happen often, in fact, rarely, but every now and again I have to admit failure and allow the person to move on - to follow the beliefs they have (no matter how unrealistic or unfounded I believe those beliefs to be).  Sometimes this is a simple case of chemistry – I am not the right teacher for them. They need to find a better match in someone else. I don’t take this personally; Sometimes it is that they for whatever reason are content to stay stuck, I shake their hand and genuinely wish them well,

I have set up my entire life with the single mission to help people – to teach and show them ways in which they can be the best of themselves and lead happy, successful lives which feel deeply fulfilling to them. I work tirelessly at this mission of mine – my friends and family often remark upon how tired I am because of the long hours I put in toiling on this life purpose of mine! I do this because it is my definition of how I live a happy and successful life. Helping people makes me feel fulfilled.

But, in those dreaded 3am ‘can’t get to sleep’ moments I find myself reviewing these ‘failures’ of mine. I wonder how they are doing now – if they found the right teacher. I wonder about ways in which I could have helped them to see the light. Sometimes, I feel the frustration of having been unable to help such clients – when I rail at myself and them in the style of “I just want to help you, why won’t you see how you are holding yourself back?”

Do you see the problem with thoughts such as those? I do.

When I hear people begin to use phrases such as “If you don’t do it this way (my way) this is going to happen to you…” or “You need to allow me to prepare you to do what I think is the best thing for you.” When I or others are tempted to use language of urgency and consequence, when that  frustrated inner voice begins to hint at threat being the ‘best’ motivation tool – I recognise it is time to take a step back and stop.

We all know the phrase “You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.” How about the parable of the sower – a biblical story of a farmer who sows seed indiscriminately? Some seed falls on the path with no soil, some on rocky ground with little soil, some on soil which contains thorns, and some on good soil. In the first case, the seed is taken away by birds; in the second and third soils, the seed fails to produce a crop; but when it falls on good soil, it grows and yields an abundant and healthy crop.

Both of these stories are reminders that as much as we may wish to force a solution upon somebody’s adult life, even if we fervently believe it is the ‘right’ thing to do for them, it is not in the world’s natural order for us to do so. We might have the power of influence or control over that person, but to wield it in such an authoritarian, forceful manner is wrong. It is part of my own personal journey of growth to recognise this and control my frustration in times when despite my fervent desire to assist, I am, for reasons outside of my control, rendered impotent to do so.

What’s got you feeling frustrated and impotent recently? Could it be the case that you need to let go of your desire to teach and enforce? Could it be that the situation calls for a different type of lesson or teacher?

Let me know in the comments below or private message me.

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