The best thing to do is not to be the lifesaver, but to be a guiding light.
Most of us have known someone at one time or another who we felt tended to drag us down, rain on our parade when we are happy about something, or make us feel bad for the good fortune in our lives.
In many cases, the offender does not do so intentionally, but the effect is just the same. Of course, if someone is abusive, dangerous, or particularly toxic, getting that person out of our lives is the absolutely right thing to do, including seeking help to do so if necessary.
However, I have known a number of beautiful souls who tend to be very negative, often because they suffer emotionally, but who never intend to cause anyone pain or drag them down. It is often just a side effect of being so down themselves.
Sometimes, we have someone in our lives who we care about, who is good person, but who we can hardly talk to without feeling like they have inadvertently burst our bubble, yet again, for no good reason other than the depression they may be struggling with.
Sometimes, we find ourselves trying to “save” someone who struggles emotionally because we can see their potential and want to help them realize it, and instead end up feeling like we are being dragged down with them.
Is it better to cut these people out of our lives and get on with things? Maybe, maybe not. But, there is a way to approach how we interact with them that tends to mostly take care of the decision for us. When you know someone who is treading in dark waters, but who isn’t actually reaching out for help, first and foremost, don’t try to reach down and pull them into your boat, so to speak. Trying to save another person that is struggling will only cause you to be pulled down with them, if they are not ready and willing to climb into the boat with you.
In these situations, we have to pull back, cut the cord of dependency if there is one, and learn to be a passive guide. The best thing to do is not to be the lifesaver, but to be a guiding light. Detach, stand back, and show them the way by being your amazing self and living an amazing life, while leaving it up to them to follow, or not.
This can be hard at first, because there is often a fear that if we stop reaching out and feeding the cycle, the person we care about will simply drift away. To be honest, that is a possibility. But, if the only way to keep someone in your life is to let them drag you down with them, then maybe they shouldn’t be in your life.
This is where the hard decisions get made for you.
You accept that you may have to let go, and if it becomes necessary, that is what you do.
On the other hand, you may be surprised to find that person doesn’t drift away. That they follow your guiding light and start to pull themselves up to be where you are. This is such a beautiful thing to see. If they want to be in your life, your awesomeness will inspire them to want to be awesome, too.
And, when this approach is appropriate, it is so worth the time and effort. Some people are worth holding onto.