Finding balance in a chaotic world

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December 2017
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Helping Others

DealLike most people, I find it very easy to see where others are out of balance. Given the opportunity, I can point out where they are struggling and implement a four step plan to fix that issue. It seems so obvious to me that if they would just listen to me that I could make their life better. Years later, they’ll drop me a line that says they could never be where they are today if not for my help back then. Don’t worry about my issues; we are not here to talk about that. We are here for me to help you. Sound familiar?


There is a great passage in the bible, about this issue. Matthew 7:5 (NASB) says “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” In other words, take care of your own issues first before you tell others their problems. It can be difficult though, especially if you have recently conquered an issue, like debt. You feel so free and really want to help those around you with the same feeling. Unfortunately, they are most likely not tuned into that at the same moment as you are. For a message to be understood, it must not only be sent, but also received.


The desire to help others is natural and certainly laudable. You worked hard to overcome a struggle and having reached some level of success, you just know it is something that others need to hear. Heck, that is the main reason I started this blog. I discovered that my life has become less stressful and I feel much more in control. I want you to have the same feelings, so I share my layman’s views on things here. The main difference is that this is a passive form of communication. You can choose to come here or not, read it or not. I’m not pressuring you to act on anything you read, or even finish reading it. I hope that without the pressure of someone confronting you about issues in your life, you are more likely to take an objective look around and determine if changes need to take place.


Think back about some time when somebody confronted you about some issue that you needed to correct. Even if they talked in the sweetest words, there is still an immediate defensive reaction, a need to justify your actions. Once you are defensive, there is little chance that the message being sent will be received. The conversation could become confrontational and can certainly cause a clash of personalities. Often the person that confronts you about an issue has their own agenda. It may be as simple as feeling better about themselves, but hopefully it is a genuine desire to help a friend.


So what do you do when you see a friend struggle with something that you have overcome? Do you run in and tell them the four steps to fix the issue? You can, although the chances of that being received well are fairly slim. Tact and decorum should rule your interaction with that person. For me, and believe me I’m still a long way from conquering all of my issues, I use two different tactics. My primary tactic is to tell my friends the struggles I’ve faced and how I overcame them, usually right after I overcame. The thought being that if my friends find themselves in a similar struggle they will feel open to asking me about my experience. That way they are ready to receive any message I send. My second method is to sympathize with them and point out the similar situation I was in. Again, I do not offer a solution but instead try to prompt them to ask me about one. That way they are the ones asking me instead of me telling them. There is a far greater chance of them acting on my suggestions than if I sat them down and told them what they needed to do.


I came to this realization after many years of trying to force people to listen to what I would do in their shoes. I discovered that no one wants to hear that. They just want to hear that I care about them and will help if they ask for it.