STOP Trying to be a Hero...It's Killing Your Best Intentions!
So often as a dad, teacher, friend I want to be there for those in my life. Sounds good! As usual however, my primary problem sits between my ears. My ego and insecurity lives in that cave. And in the drama of my ego, "being there" usual equals some #heroic version of me engaged in some super-human kindness Olympic-style event or some Buddha-like chill that I can't achieve 99.9999% of the time for those around me. Maybe that's the basic problem--I'm trying to show up or "help" in ways that will never work because I'm the wrong person to do much of anything about somebody else's problems? Maybe, just maybe, I'm not a hero and I never need to be one!
That’s because making someone do something, even if it’s for their own good, requires either coercion or manipulation. It requires intervening in their life in a way that is a boundary violation, and it will therefore damage the relationship—in some cases more than it helps
See Mark Manson's solid post about trying to change another person.
So...what would happen if I let go of the hero thinking? What if I let go just a little bit? What if it's only my job to put forward a consistent example of somebody doing his level best to be enough. Enough for himself. Enough for those around him. Enough to actually let go of all that???
If I'm brutally honest, a lot of the #hero thinking is driven by the drama of my #ego lurking just below the surface.Time and again #experience tells me that trying to be a hero just sets me up for a fail...which directly assaults the drama of my #ego...and I'm thrown toward my other favorite companion, "not enough." See that twist: from hero to nada under 10 seconds flat? Maybe the move, then, is seeing where I resist, tighten, and close-off to whatever behavior or situation is in front of me. Seeing it, I can have a look at it. Even just a brief look when I don't like what I see. So often, when I don't like what I see in front of me I'll act like it's not happening...realize this isn't what a hero would do...get even more upset...or dive into "I'm-just-not-enough" thinking...lash out at what I see as the source of the problem (hint: never me?!!)...and we're off to the races. Not pretty. So STOP it!?!
Take a breath (or seven!)
To truly take an heroic role in my kids' or my students' lives, I have to set really loving #limits and #boundaries (always!!!!) and be there in my best version of #enough for me and by extension for them. STOPping so I can clearly track a) who truly has a problem, b) what I can do to make sure the right person is dealing with said problem/situation, and c)how I can be there for this person with dignity so they might figure out their best solution within their life's timeframe. I can't make somebody live better. I can't make them want to solve their problems. I can hold the time and space they need so they know I love them despite how crappy things may be right now. When they're ready, I can offer guidance from the side SO THEY REMAIN IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT OF THEIR CHOICES AND OUTCOMES (aka #consequences) [SEE LOVE AND LOGIC'S INCREDIBLY POWERFUL GUIDELINES FOR GUIDING KIDS TO OWN AND SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS...also works for partners, peers, neighbors, et al.!]
So, my friend, STOP and explore some heroic consistency. I think, maybe, that's the move I've been looking for...