#258- Saving People From Learning Their Own Lessons

#258- Saving People From Learning Their Own Lessons


#258- Saving People From Learning Their Own Lessons

Do you hand out unsolicited advice, telling people how to live their lives? Maybe you think you’re doing them a favor because you want to save them from learning the “hard” way. After all, you know better than they do. Whether with friends or intimate relationships, this need to save people from themselves comes from a need for validation. It’s how you derive your value and earn your place. You think they are incapable, but really it’s a reflection of how you see yourself. And it’s manipulative because you’re doing it to get something from them—appreciation, value, gratitude, validation, acceptance. So if the person you’re trying to save doesn’t thank you to the moon and back, you become resentful.

One of my clients is the perennial teacher with her boyfriend. She gets validation from coddling him instead of letting him figure things out himself. He is an equal participant because he says she’s the smart and capable one (which makes her feel good), but then he doesn’t end up listening. This leads to her wanting to bang her head against the wall. Her insecurities kick in because if she isn’t the all-knowing rescuer… who is she? She doesn’t feel she has value unless she can be superior.

This kind of teaching, over-doing, saving and advice-giving is incredibly depleting. You give and give in order to receive breadcrumbs of validation, which never fill you up. And it doesn’t do the other person any favors because you’re robbing them of their own growth. Instead of trying to get someone to love you for what you can teach them or save them from, see if they can love you simply for breathing; for doing nothing more than just being you.


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