We can’t force (what we perceive as) salvation onto people. No matter how much we see they are harming themselves or others, some things are beyond our control and the humility to know when to back off is a hard life lesson. There will be people and situations where the conditions are not ripe yet, where the rock bottom still wasn’t hit hard enough to break open a crack that will allow for the influx of new information that instigates change.
We cannot save those who don’t wish your help or are not ready for it, even if they are not ready because they are too deep into their own abyss. If we try to force them open we’ll get an equal or greater pushback, where disturbing someone’s sorrow or disintegration of something old actually seems like a rude intrusion. We can only wait, live our life as an example of what we’d like to see become an universal rule, stand as silent support and hope they grab the lifeline we’re offering at some point. They are their own person and they might need the experience they’re going through even if for now it seems harmful. We don’t process things the same way, at the same pace or through the same channels, and we all arrive where we’re going through different routes. Just be there, no judgement, no scrutiny, no forcing, no taking away their ability to learn to pull themselves out. Everyone needs to get to know the dark side and integrate it into our being to become whole, less naive and more willing to fight for the light now we know what lurks in the darkness. Their process is a warrior in the making. You did it as well and this is why you can see now. Trust the process, their process. Beauty is born amidst and on the remanences of struggle and you can’t protect and save them from all the bad things, but you can help them get stronger, better and more able to cope.
But there is a self-preservation rule here – don’t get pulled down while you’re trying to help! Stand your ground and pull them up when they’re ready. It’s very easy to get sucked into dysfunction and it gets exponentially easier the closer the person is to us. Empathy is a good thing, stupid careless empathy is not. Do you know what the rule for lifeguards is? If you see someone drowning and you swim up to them to save them, the first thing you do is create a personal safe space. You push them away with your feet and explain you’re here to help and that everything is going to be ok if they trust you and let you help them. Chances are the person drowning is panicking they’ll latch onto you and pull you under with them drowning you both. This is not how you help. You help by keeping your distance while offering help and reestablishing calm in order to proceed intelligently. Help absolutely anybody anywhere. Anyone who crosses your path can walk away better for having known you, but keep in mind not to step out of your own integrity. We all need a full cup to pour and sometimes their cup is to full to accept the offering. Wait for it to spill over and make room. Don’t go down with the ship. Things will change, the hurt will subside, wreckage can be rebuilt.