In this installment, I am going to talk about it from a slightly different end.
How to not be an enabler, and how to better not only yourself and your life, but possibly your friends and those you care about. This is done by not aiding and supporting habits and virtues that tear them down, and keep them in the blackness of the abyss. If you do this, and they still choose to stay there, then there was nothing you could do to help them anyway. Unlike casting out cowards, backstabbers, and liars, this is more about peeling away and cutting off the things that keep your life from progressing forward to the next level, and what you want your life to look like.
Help yourself first -
One of the very basic tenets of life, that has been proven over and over again, is that you must first help yourself before you can fully help others. You must first be happy with who you are, before you can embrace life wholly. You must first be confident in who you are, and what you are about before you can pull someone else out of the quagmire. Think about it.....how do you help someone else out of quicksand when you're drowning in it too?
Amazingly, a lot of people have no idea how to really get to this place. This is because they generally don't know how to grok lifer rule 5..... Most people find unhappiness in their life, because they let the things that happen to them in life define WHO they are. The key issue here, is usually failure.
They use failures in life to shape what they think of themselves, and have a hard time letting go of failures, insults, perceived shortcomings, and slights.
"I didn't get that promotion" -- failure
"I missed that lift" -- failure
"I failed that test" -- failure
"I can't sustain a relationship" -- failure
"I can't get a date" -- failure
"I don't fit in with a group" -- failure
"I failed again....it's all I know how to do."
People let these things in life define them, rather than seeing them as part of what life is. They think others see them as a failure. Thus...."I'm a failure."
You are the only one who gets to define who and what you are, and what your life is about. You have all the power to make decisions that empower you. This is such a hard thing for people to comprehend and believe, but it's entirely true. No one can "make" you happy, sad, mad, apathetic, jealous, whatever. You CHOOSE to feel that way. If you want to define yourself as a failure because you have failed at certain things, then you will be. You will constantly wait on yourself to falter and to fail like it's some sort of predestined fate.
Let me lay down a knowledge bomb on you here. You are not predestined to fail. The key, is being smart about picking your battles. If you've never stepped foot into a fighters Cage, and plan on fighting Anderson Silva then you're gonna fail. You can't really stand up and say with any amount of legitimacy "I tried to be a cage fighter and failed." No you failed to win a fight against Anderson Silva, and you were retarded for using that as the measuring stick for whether or not you were meant to fight in MMA.
Your path should have been....
First you would find a reputable MMA studio.
Then you would put the work in.
Then you would take some amateur fights.
Then, if you won there, you'd eventually turn pro.
If you turned pro, you would have to work your way up the ladder.
If you did that, you'd get a title shot.
You'd THEN you would get your ass kicked by Anderson Silva.
|I guess Chris Leben does kinda suck.....|
Now even though, the end result was the same both times, would you consider yourself a failure for losing? You could if you wished. Or you could see the big picture, and see all of the little success' that got you to that point, and that one loss in no way, shape, or form, defines who you are and what you are about.
Failures in life are not only inevitable, but a requirement for getting better. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. Period. Unless you are a prodigy, everything you do in life will come with some success, and some failure. It's what you do with that failure that defines whether you get bitter, or better.
Learning how to be happy with who you are is most often about what to do with those failures. A failure could be something that steers you away from something you shouldn't have been doing in the first place. Like a job, or a relationship, or MMA fighting, or smoking crack. It may not be evident at that moment, and may not reveal itself until later, but if you dwell on the "failure" aspect of the present, instead of looking to the future, you will stay mired in the sludge and quicksand.
If you are ever to eradicate the blackness that envelopes you, you must come to terms with the fact that crawling out of the depths of it means your hands will become blistered and torn. At times the climb will be incredibly painful, and you will question if it's really worth it. However you have to focus on the goal. The goal is to climb up and rise out. Not to do so unscathed. The blisters and blood and pain is all part of the climb, not part of "failing".
You have two choices.
You can let go, and fall back into the blackness. However I promise you that each climb after a fall becomes increasingly harder. Each time thereafter, it gets easier to let go. It gets easier to take the fall and succumb to failing.
"I'm supposed to fail. I'm not supposed to make it out."
You will capitulate to your perceived inability to climb out of the depths known as your own personal misery and failure. You will then live your life vicariously through those that do what you think you can't, or you will hate them and bemoan their existence for it. Jealousy will become your horse, and you will ride it with strife and resentment.
You become the leech. You become the vagrant.
Before you can cut off the leeches and vagrants, so that they are forced to help themselves, you must first exile yourself from that existence.
This starts by using the power to decide what to do with failing. Accept failing as a normal part of succeeding. Use your failures as an ingredient to get better. Learn and grow from them. You are not accepting failure as the final solution, just as a bump in the road.
Imagine being on a road trip to somewhere you had been waiting your whole life to go to. On that trip, you find yourself standing in front of a bridge that has fallen. Would you reroute, and find a new way, or would you just turn around and go home? The bridge is something that keeps you from reaching your goal, or destination. However it's not until you decide to quit, and that there is no other way, that you have accepted failure as the only option.
"What if that is the ONLY way? And now I can't get there?"
"I didn't end up where I had initially planned. However, I ended up at this other spot. I must say, it's pretty f'n cool, and I think I could settle in for a while here until I decide what I want to do next. Or I may stay here until that bridge gets fixed. Either way, I have options."
The second part is understanding the short comings that have to do with you failing. If you failed a test at school because you did not study, then you already understand where the shortcoming came from.
If you're a white guy built more naturally like Hulk Hogan, and your passion is the 100 meter dash, and you want to run it in sub 10, you're probably that same guy that tried to fight Anderson Silva right out of the gate. You're not being very self aware about your limitations, and being supremely retarded.
|That belt is not from winning a 100 meter dash in track and field|
Most people that I know, or have known, that fail or think of themselves as failures did not give themselves the best chance to win. Either through mental or physical preparation.
Giving yourself the best chance to win -
Pick your battles.
Look at failures as temporary roadblocks that you learn from.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Learn how to be happy with your own goals and aspirations.
Attack those goals and aspirations like a fucking Silverback on PCP.
Grasp these concepts, and you will climb out of the depths of the blackness.
You cannot rescue the truly condemned -
For most of my youth, I tried to rescue people I loved from things that clearly were destroying their life. I thought for the longest I could save them from these things, before I had to eventually let go of them, in order to move on in my own life. I did not fail in saving them, they failed to save themselves.
Ultimately, and unfortunately, some of us live long enough to grow up and regrettably have to watch people we love and care about toss their life into a river of shit over and over and over again. To no avail, we try desperately to save them from something they willingly want to be a part of. Logic doesn't work, ass kickings don't work, interventions don't (always) work. Or sometimes they do, but it's usually temporary.
Most people live the life they want to live because they like it, or it's comforting to them in some way only they can understand. Trying to save them from something they are willing to sell their soul from is futile. I can tell you from experience, it's an incredibly helpless feeling. When you want so badly for something better in someones life, and they refuse to take your hand.
Eventually, if you don't cut these leeches off of you they will suck the life out of you. If you don't force them to stand on their own, and quit being an enabler, they will drag you down into hell with them. Trust me, I know. I speak from experience and personal journeys that I'd never wish on anyone to have to go through. These can be big things, like drugs and alcohol, or "smaller" things like self loathing and pity parties.
It's the loved one who is an addict that you need to stop giving money to, or rescuing from danger.
Or the friend who constantly has man/woman drama going on in their life. You are constantly subjected to catering to their emotional needs as they make the same mistakes over and over again.
Their burdens eventually become your burdens. Your canvas eventually starts being painted by the same paint brushes that is painting their life. Their shades of black and gray eventually start mixing in with your reds and greens. If you don't wipe away those smudges before they dry, their burdens will become part of your canvas forever.
The truly condemned, those that love the abyss and the darkness, cannot be rescued from it. They love the self loathing and stench of the stolen and crushed souls that walk this path with them. They take comfort in the vileness of it all. You cannot save them. If they are to be saved, they must make the decision to climb out of the cave of their own accord.
The other types of leeches and vagrants, are the people in your life that burden you but not to the degree of the condemned. The "I would" leeches.
They haven't tainted their canvas with smudge and blackness, but there's not a lot going on there either.
I want to move forward, and get better, and do something. But they are paralyzed by the fear of the unknown and failure.
"I would do that but...." is their favorite phrase to coin.
You know their heart is good, but they can't ever seem to find their way down the right path. So, they simply don't take a path. Which isn't always a bad thing either. But eventually the baby birds have to leave the nest and take a chance.
Cutting them off here, is more about giving them a nudge, and letting them sink or swim a bit. If they have the same fear failures that you might have had, then help them get over it. But give them enough gentle nudges to help them start walking their own path.
If that path comes to a fallen bridge, let them know you've been there, and the choices that you made about it. How they have choices too, but they have to make their own. They have to decide if they want to succumb to failure, or just reroute their path.