Updated: Nov 2, 2020
“You shouldn’t be working harder than your clients.”
I remember hearing this phrase often as an intern therapist. Many therapist get burned out by working harder towards their client’s healing than the clients are themselves.
But I realize now this applies to just about anyone and everyone.
When we work harder than someone else does for their healing or happiness, it never ends up going well. Truly.
We get burnt out.
We feel taken advantage of.
We get filled with resentment for all the time, energy and resources we poured into them, only to have them not seem to care or try.
It’s so easy to want to push people into healing. To go out of our way to do anything we can so that they can get better. To pour out what we have to give, so that maybe, just maybe, they will experience life in a new way.
Almost always helping someone in this way comes from a really good place in our heart.
We do it because we care and love them.
We do it because we truly want them to live a better life.
But, ugh, the reality is that no matter how hard we try, we cannot make someone want to heal or do the work of healing.
They have to choose it themselves.
And that can be devastating.
Because we might need them to heal in order to keep them close to us in our life, and in the back of our mind we may be very aware that if they don’t change, it’s too toxic for us to be around them.
Or we might be able to see how they are destroying their life day by day. We may spend so much time trying to show them how destructive they are being, but have very little impact on their decision making.
You might wonder then, if someone we love is struggling should we just give up on them?
No, absolutely not.
But we need to know for our own sake and mental health that WE do not hold the solution for their healing.
We are not the healer.
We can certainly encourage, uplift, and help. Especially for those who are really trying to heal, having a support community is essential.
I’m just saying, we might need to let go of the idea that if WE try hard enough, they will get better.
They might get better, but it won’t be because we made them.
And honestly? There is freedom in that for us, too.
Healing someone isn’t our responsibility. Loving them is.
And sometimes loving someone means surrendering them to the Lord and letting them find their own path. Letting them choose what they need to do.
I know the heartache of letting go. I know it doesn’t feel natural, especially when it’s someone close to us.
But there is also a whole lot of heartache in constantly trying to fix someone when you can’t.
The hard truth is that no other human is ours to fix.
Ask God to help you break off the lie that it’s your responsibility to heal someone.
Disagree with that lie, and replace it with the truth:
You are absolutely a vessel of God, but you are not God Himself.
I know your heart is good and filled with love, which is why you try so hard. But you don’t need to try to fit that role anymore.
You might just find that releasing them helps you both.
Jesus takes on our burdens, friend.
Our and everyone else’s.
So rest in the fact that in His hands is the best place they could be.
~Kelli Bachara, The Unraveling Blog