At one point in time, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “You can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves” or “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” Throughout the years I’ve had many
friendships or relationships in which I wanted to help a person or change a person sooooo badly, then got disappointed when they didn’t follow through on my vision for them. I’ve found that the “extend the arm” approach is really all you can do and will save you a lot of time and wasted energy.
What is extending the arm?
Picture this. Imagine someone laying down on the ground. Now imagine reaching down and extending your arm to them. They have 2 choices: Grab onto your hand and get helped up OR continue laying there. Realize it is completely up to that person to reach up and grab your hand. I cannot make you grab my hand, I can only control what my arm does. When you think about it this way, it takes a lot of the pressure off of you, you’ve done everything you can!
The same thing applies to life. We can offer to help others all day but unless they are willing to recieve our assistance, our energy is wasted on them. A lot of suffering comes from people trying to change others or getting frustrated when the person decides to not grab onto the arm. When it gets to this point, take a step back, realize they are not ready to change, move on and above all, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. It has little to do with you and everything to do with them, their current mental state and their ability and willingness to recieve assistance.
If you find yourself constantly trying to change others that are not ready to change, practice acceptance or move on from that friendship/relationship. It’s okay to break up with friends or significant others who are no longer serving your growth process. Always leave the arm extended, but leave it up to them to grab onto and go on with your life!