“Only A Fool Waste Their Energy And Purpose”
I tend to have different friends or family members that will call or text because they need to vent. I have practiced the art of listening and don’t mind lending an ear most of the time, but I have one slight problem; I catch myself wanting to give unwarranted advice.
My family is going through some turmoil as most families do, and I catch myself trying to mediate every situation. My thoughts and guidance are unwanted, so I have to bring myself back to being neutral to make it through every conversation.
One evening, I watched a show on Gaia, and I heard the quote, “Only a fool wastes their time and energy.”
It all made sense, I realized that I am trying to help my family, and they do not want any help, therefor draining my energy.
I realized that this draining of my energy was affecting my work and creativity. It was hijacking my spiritual practice as well as making me feel burned out. It was time to put up some boundaries.
It is tough to put up boundaries for family and close friends, but sometimes we have to for our well-being and theirs. The first thing that I started to do was to give myself a timeframe for the phone call. If I only want to talk for fifteen minutes, I will set the alarm for that time and start making my way off the phone. One other thing that I do is end my part of each back and forth with a question.
For example, three sample questions that I like to ask to take the focus off of me are:
“What advice would you give someone else in a similar situation?”
“What do you feel that you can control in this situation?”
“What is your next step after today?”
Asking questions can give your friend or family member a chance for self-reflection so they can search for the solution to their issue within themselves. We can guide all that we want to, but it is up to every individual to find the answer within themselves. Asking questions can also protect us from being called judgmental by trying to give too much advice.
Assisting family and friends with any issue is a very tricky situation because we want to help. Putting up proper boundaries can be as simple as not answering the phone or text right away. If you do catch yourself on the other end of a venting session, put some open ended questions into the mix like those listed above. If you are not in the correct headspace to talk, then don’t answer the phone or text right away. Wait for a time when you are in the mood to speak before calling or texting back. It is essential to remember that your needs are as important as the person calling you.