Other people’s issues are and should remain, exactly that. It’s great and noble to show compassion, advice, guidance, and support when people you know reach out to you. Please don’t think that I am discouraging that kind of help.
That kind of help is what keeps a lot of us in line and sane. We need outlets to voice what’s going on in our heads and in our lives to process. I truly believe that often, just talking through what may at first seem like a tangled mess of confusing emotions and issues ends up making at least a little more sense when you just get it all out. Usually, we’re not even necessarily looking for feedback or solutions... we just need to vent. Active listening is a key component in any kind of relationship. It is said, cheesy but true... “we are born with two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
So, in my life, I rely on there being people that are willing to just listen. On the flip side, I try to do the same. One of the problems of being involved in other people’s drama, even just as an innocent listener, is that we can start to actually start feeling what they are going through. If they are stressed… you become stressed. If they are scared, you begin having feelings of fear FOR them. If they are sad and depressed, some of that negativity can be contagious. You begin taking on other people’s problems. This all without even noticing.
And often, we can’t afford to do that. Our energy tank needs to stay full and cannot be drained at the expense of our friends and what they are going through. Even if our intentions are honorable. I’m not saying to quit being someone who is there for others. Just be mindful that your recovery has to come first.!! You are not responsible for other people, their decisions, their actions, or the repercussions. It’s not your place to take on other people’s issues. It’s already hard enough dealing with our own sh**, right? And trust me... Being a “fixer” for someone else isn’t how healthy relationships work. Be aware of the extent of your involvement.
Express empathy, support self-efficacy, comfort, and empower... listen. Helping people help themselves is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Just remember that you don’t have to take the reins on other people’s rides, or your focus might come off your own.
P.S. I’m Grateful