It would be wonderful if we could be adults and not have to worry about paying that stack of bills, what the insurance will pay on my last doctor's visit, or if I am losing my mind. (😊 don't tell me you don't wonder about that as well.) In truth, life gets harder the older we get. Things that we have no control over and that we must deal with are around every corner.
There are thieves in our midst, however, that seek (unknowingly) to rob us of our peace and happiness. The thief may be a family member or a friend. It could also be the clerk at the grocery or the receptionist at the doctor's office. People who want to dump their problems or their bad mood onto us. They may not even realize they are thieves. Often they think they are simply sharing their life with you. Harmless complaining or expressions of anger, sadness, or worry.
When someone reaches out to us with a problem, we must decide if the problem is a legitimate problem that requires our assistance or if it's just a gripe session that we need to protect ourselves from. It is true that sometimes, the person who reaches out to us with a problem, may just need to vent to someone and then it's over. That's not bad. Often times this person wants to dump on you and have you be their support person - but where do you take it then?
There are choices to make:
1. Do you take their problems and make them yours, trying to help them?
2, Do you offer solutions and then walk away and let them deal with it?
3. Do you let it drag you down and ruin your otherwise happy day?
4, Do you listen, offer any assistance you can, and then leave, allowing them
to help themselves
and you to hold on to your own
happiness and peace?
The important thing to remember is this: allowing yourself to be robbed of your happiness and peace is not going to help the other person, so don't allow it. If you want to help the person, then listen to them. Decide if they have a real problem or just a bad moment. If you can offer a kind word to lift them, then offer it. If you can offer a solution to their problem, then offer it. If you just want to listen and allow them to "vent", then listen. Then walk away and know that you have done everything you can to help them, with your own happiness and peace intact.
Now, having said that, we all know that as humans and believers in God, we must offer our help. What that involves is sometimes a grey area. We don't want a woman who is telling us she is being physically abused by her husband to just vent and then walk off and leave her. Something like that requires more action and we should offer it. If someone lost their job and they don't have food for their family, we must help them in any way we can. However, if the problem is something like "I hate my job" or "my kids are driving me nuts" or something equally common, we have no obligation to help them find a better job or take their children for a few days. That would be taking our own happiness and peace away, rather giving it away, and that's not expected of us. In those cases, just listen and if you have a suggestion make it.
"Wherever a man turns
he can find someone who needs him."
- Albert Schweitzer
As older people, we have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to share, but please don't let that make you feel that you have to solve everyone's problems. Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on now and then, but everyone also needs to learn to solve their own problems and not dump on you out of habit..
Bottom line? Help where you can and then move on. Don't let yourself be robbed of peace in your life or your happiness.
"An optimist is a person
who sees a green light everywhere,
while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight
... the truly wise person is colorblind. "
- Albert Schweitzer
Do you have a friend or family member who is always in "crisis" mode and brings their "problems" to you? Do they dump on you and leave happy, while you now feel down? Have you found a healthy way to deal with other's issues while retaining your joy and peace?