I found a very interesting article on the Spanish-language site El Librero de Gutenberg, entitled “No one can be forced to see what they are not yet prepared for” (No podemos obligar a nadie a ver aquello para lo que aún no está preparado). As I was reading it, several occasions came to my mind when I was in similar situation.
As a coach, working with my clients, it is the baseline that we work with what the client himself/herself brings to the session. Of course, the opportunity is there for me to shed light on such layers of the subject as an outside observer, that the client may not have thought of yet. This allows to gain more insight into the roots of the problem and so that my client can get to the solution in a more targeted way. But the coach is not a “telling person”, rather a “questioning person”. If the client doesn’t feel the direction of the question, we don’t have to deal with it (yet).
The situation is different when someone finds himself/herself in a similar situation with their own family and friends. Here, the coach’s attitude can sometimes be turned off. Seeing a loved one suffering, us believing to see the root of it and believing to be able to know the “best” solution to it can be very dangerous.
We all interpret our experiences through our own filter.
This filter is built up from our own past experiences, wounds, family backgrounds, relationships, friendships, patterns around us, beliefs, self-awareness, our relationship with our egos, blockages and many-many other things. It is unique and unrepeatable for everyone.
One event may trigger an emotional avalanche in me, while someone else wouldn’t really be touched by it. I may not personally feel that there is a problem with something, and another person’s days, weeks, months, years may be invested in trying to interpret and process what happened. It all depends on the filter. What I see in a situation and what the other sees in it.
From the outside, it’s always easier to see the perceived truth and solution, since we’re not as emotionally involved in the whole thing as the person to whom it is actually happening. And here you have to be careful.
Even though I personally think I can help, and I want to do anything to get my loved one out of the pit, do I have to do that at all and is it the right time for that? Are they already prepared to see the roots of the problem and to take action against it? Or do I just want them to want to?
With excessive pressure and help, we can achieve the exact opposite of what we would want. Resistance, tension, anger, even greater shut down. Sometimes the best solution is when there is no solution. For now, at least. We need to notice when people close to our hearts are not yet ready to change, not yet ready to see their own mistakes.
As I say, it’s not bad enough for them to do anything about it.
Many times, you have to reach the bottom of the pit to notice where you really are and only then you can get out of there.
Watching as an outside observer that people are hurting themselves, is terribly difficult. You can delicately try, of course, maybe you can trigger their thinking. But if you see that it doesn’t work, then unfortunately you can’t do anything. Or actually you can. You can have the faith that as soon as this person has learned their task from this situation and realizes that they need to do something differently, they will find their way back to you and finally receive the message.
This is one of my favourite proverbs:
You can lead the horse to the water but you can’t make it drink.
I don’t think there’s anything else to add to that.
I wish everyone a lot of perseverance in situations like this!