I stopped making New Year’s resolutions some time ago. Resolutions seem to me like fad diets – something you try, but eventually fades away faster than you’d hope. Doctors and nutritionists frown on diets because it comes with a “quick fix” mentality when what needs to happen is a permanent change in eating habits – not starvation or denial of certain foods at intervals throughout the year only to have what was lost return double once dieting has ended. Likewise, resolutions seem to have a temporariness attached to them. Instead of wishful thinking that things will be better (i.e. win the lottery or the HGTV DreamHome – my personal hype dream), let’s start 2011 with practical solutions that we implement in every day life.
Over the years, I’ve been frustrated with the seeming unfavorness of the economy on my career efforts, people that you love and help biting the helping hand, good deeds that seemed to be punished and the general lack of humanity. However, in the past months, I’ve had an epiphany. We tend to try to control people or change them in our efforts to help them. They say the first step in helping an addict is their own admission of their state and need. I have been guilty of deseparately trying to help people who either don’t want to change or simply want the handout. Beause they are close to me, I felt obligated to move heaven and earth to help. However, all that happened in the process was frustration and efforts down the drain. Like women who believe they can “change” a man who has no intention of changing, so we have to recognize when we are dealing with people in our lives who verbally say they want help, but have no intentions of changing their lifestyle or habits that brought them to their current state.
It is hard when it is a loved one, but sometimes the best thing is to walk away and let them come to their senses. If and when they truly want to change their situation, they will acknowledge the problem, their role in creating the problem, and do everything in their power to seek change. Tough love with teens, adult children and siblings is hard. However, as my father used to say, “a hard head makes for a soft behind.” Some people need to hit rock bottom before you can help them. Helping them before they come to their senses, is only providing them with a crutch and prolonging the problem. I heard someone say, “a fool continually does the same thing hoping for a different result.” Let’s not be foolish in how we “help” those who really don’t want to change or are not at the frame of mind where they can acknowledge a problem exists.
My goal and prayer for 2011 is what most have referred to as the Serenity Prayer.
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless
– by Reinhold Niebuhr