The Power of NOT Caring
My mother once said to me "Baby, sometimes you have to stop caring." At the time I could not completely wrap my head around what she was saying to me. I thought that I was in a bad situation and the person who was partly to blame had become my focus (maybe TARGET would be a better word).
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of bad circumstances to the point where you find yourself stressed out and an emotional wreck from trying to fix it all. In the past I have definitely fell into that category.
I used to be a "fixer." A fixer is a person that is over-responsible for situations in their life. Fixers are good about coming to the rescue of other people. This results in a rewarded behavior for the fixer. We are praised and thanked for the help and it makes us feel real good about our fixing behavior.
There is nothing wrong with helping other people. To a certain extent, it is noble to assist others that are in need. It becomes a real problem though when people inappropriately depend on us to solve THEIR problems and consistently ask for a RESCUE.
If you are not careful, you can cross the line from HELPING to ENABLING.
a person or thing that makes something possible.
a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behavior in another.
Enablers have a habit of entangling themselves in the affairs of other people. They don't know how to separate "me" from "we." Before we realize it, we are "caught up" in situations that don't belong to us.
The tendencies to fix and enable are barriers to understanding how to Love and Live Your Unique. Sometimes, we just have to STOP CARING. We have to come to the realization that we are responsible for our own lives, and other people are responsible for their own lives. And if the other person fails to take responsibility for their own life, it is NOT my problem!
In Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D's ground-breaking book Perfect Daughters, he outlines how to work through these tendencies to create a healthy separation between "me" and "we." Here are three strategies for to get started. I highly recommend that you pick up his book if you find these tips helpful.
Learn to like yourself. At the root of some of our fixing and enabling tendencies is the ego. We all want to be liked by some people in our lives. This ego-driven pleasing behavior can cause us to be overly critical of other people AND ourselves. You cannot be overly critical of others and walk in the freedom of loving YOU at the same time. At the root of not liking others is a dislike of SELF. Learning to LOVE and appreciate Your Unique will free you to appreciate the Unique of others. This process starts with learning to like yourself - just as you are.
Learn how to receive. Fixers and enablers have a hard time receiving from other people. Under the guise of "I'm just a giver" is an ego-driven tendency to avoid being "in need." Fixers and enablers don't want to DEPEND on others. Authentic and healthy relationships are MUTUAL in nature. You can depend on me for some things and I can depend on you for some things. You have to be able to stand in your strengths AND your WEAKNESSES. Being gracious in receiving is a sign of maturity.
Develop yourself. Self-development is a sign of maturity and higher consciousness. When we adopt a mindset of self-development, we begin to experience the commonality of humanity. We are all in this together. In working through our own issues, we discover the strength within ourselves. This enlightens us to the capacity of all humanity to grow, change, and evolve. Instead of seeing others as weak and in need, we are able to help them see their own strength. We allow other people the space and opportunity to pursue their own path of self-development. Enablers and fixers can back away knowing that because "I survived," so can you.
As soon as I understood the wisdom of my mother, "Baby, sometimes you have to stop caring," my life became less stressful. I was able to create healthy boundaries in my relationships. No more externally-driven DRAMA! (Internally-driven drama is another topic altogether).
Loving and Living Your Unique can help you create a more peaceful life. Sometimes, you just have to stop caring.
You are not alone in this struggle.
And I am cheering for you as you learn how to Love Your Unique so that you can Live Your Unique!