Stop trying to fix your family and friends, they won’t thank you for it!
Happiness, Intention, and Karma
A good way to frustrate yourself, waste time, and create tension in your relationships is by trying “fix” your family and friends.
We have all experienced the aggravation that arises from trying to help a loved one or a friend only to have our advice and intentions ignored, belittled, or used as ammunition in the battle for “whose right.”
The reason why our seemingly good intentions fail, is because the deeper, truer, inner intention is tainted by self gratification.
For example: Mary has a friend Betsy, who is always depressed. Mary loves Betsy and wants help her. Mary treats Betsy to lunch, buys her spiritually uplifting books to read, recommends seminars and classes to take, tells Betsy what a terrific person she is, and so on.
Mary’s thoughts about Betsy are often, “she’s such a great person. If she’d onlyâ€¦..she’d be so much happier.” Mary’s feelings about Betsy range from frustration, to pity, and back again because although Betsy complains a lot she will not listen to Mary.
Why aren’t Mary’s efforts to help her friend working? Does Mary truly see her friend as complete, whole, and perfect? Or does Mary see someone who needs “fixing” or saving? How do you think Mary will feel once her friend is fixed? Who is she really trying to make feel better?
Mary’s inner/subconscious intentions are in conflict with her outer/conscious intentions. Mary’s conflicting intentions contaminates the outcome, thus Betsy never gets “fixed” and Mary remains frustrated. This happens for a number reasons:
1. Since Betsy complains a lot about her life situation, we can assume that Betsy sees herself and her life as flawed.
Mary perceives Betsy’s complaining as a desire to be “fixed” or helped in some way. Unfortunately, Mary’s attempts at helping her friend fail because her perception of Betsy is of someone who is broken…thus Mary unwittingly perpetuates Betsy’s negative self image.
The law of karma states that every action (intention) has an equally corresponding reaction (manifestation). Thus, Mary continues to feel frustrated in her friendship because her feelings about Betsy are negative to begin with. That is, she can not create a positive outcome for herself and her friend as long as she is coming from a negative inner space. Mary does not really believe that Betsy is a terrifically whole person, her deeper belief is that there is something wrong with Betsy that needs fixing.
2. There is a Hindu saying that only a god can worship a god. What this means is that when we are in the awareness of our inherent and divine perfection we see It in the world around us. Conversely, when we are in lack consciousness, we will see lack in others, in our relationships, and in our world.
Since Mary’s attention is not on her own perfection, Mary’s perceived inadequacies of Betsy are an unconscious mirror of Mary’s own perceived inadequacies. Here Mary’s deeper unconscious intention in fixing Betsy, who represents the outer world, is about Mary feeling better and ultimately more complete.
3. It is possible that Mary has a “savior” or a “martyr” identity. Thus Mary’s need to fix Betsy, will enhance and feed
this ego identity. When Betsy doesn’t listen to Mary, the “savior” feels frustration. The “martyr” identity is perpetuated also when Betsy doesn’t listen because now Mary’s thoughts and feelings revolve around self-pity.
4. The ego (unconscious, uncontrolled, and reactive thinking) thrives on feelings of power. If Mary was very present during her time with Betsy, especially when the conversation or her actions revolved around fixing Betsy, there would be a tingling sensation in the solar plexus, accompanied by a feeling of power or superiority. Why? Because Mary knows more than Betsy about how to fix Betsy’s life, what books to read, and so on.
This Week’s Mindfulness Practice:
1. Be mindful of your intentions. What’s really motivating you in your relationships?
2. Work on feeling your own completeness and acknowledge the completeness of others.
Photo Credit: Alice Donovan Rouse