I have a question for you. Have you ever found yourself watching someone stress and struggle with a situation while you stood on the side lines? Did you know in your heart that you needed to let them figure it out for themselves rather than jump in and rescue them? Did you just itch to rescue?
Over the past number of weeks I have needed to take that position on the side lines. No matter how much I wanted to step in and rescue, there was nothing that I could actually do. And yet I found myself stressing on their behalf. And what did I achieve by this stressing? Nothing.
You see, the only real action that I could take was simply to “be there” to be very present when my friend needed support and ensured that I listened and heard while they processed all the issues that they were going through. (This was not a very demanding task for a much loved friend) They did not need me to jump in and take over, they did not need me to even give my opinion, and they needed to know that they were being heard and that they would be supported no matter what decisions they took.
And then it struck me, it is very easy to put ourselves under unnecessary stress and pressure because we take on issues and concerns and get caught up in things that really are not our problem. Now I know that I have written previously about the importance of knowing what it is that you can control and what it is that is outside your control. However when we take on other people’s issues and concerns we can inadvertently also take on a whole plethora of thoughts and actions that raise our feelings of stress and anxiety.
So if we find ourselves in a situation of stress, it may not actually be sufficient to just consider what is and is not inside our control, we would also benefit from looking at each of our challenges and stressors and considering whether or not we are dealing with a situation that is our responsibility or are we in fact engaging in “rescuing” somebody else who may or may not want to be rescued.
So my challenge to you this week is to take time to consider your sources of stress. First consider the elements that are inside your control and those elements that are not inside your control. Where are you focusing your thoughts and actions? Now also consider, what is your actual role and responsibility in this process. Are you in the middle of it or would you serve yourself and the situation owners better if your removed yourself to the side lines and held a supportive role for other? Hat to the owners of the challenge need from you?