A lot of times we like to buy in to this over romanticised idea of being able to “save” a person. “I’ll be there for you no matter what!”, “whenever you need me, however often you need me, I’ll be there!”, “I’d go to the ends of the earth for you and cut off my own eyebrows because I love you!”.
Love isn’t overextending yourself, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Being there for a person who’s sad and committing yourself to them in a loving way is an art that differs in each circumstance.
First of all, check your intention. It’s not necessarily the things that we do which determines a good deed, it’s the intention behind it and the energy if you do it with. For example, if you’re committing yourself to being there for someone and “loving them” and being there for them because you want them to appreciate you and be grateful in return, the intention is rocky and impure. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means that this isn’t gonna end well. You’re not really sure what you’re getting in to because there is this kind of expectation from the other person.When a person is sad you can’t really expect them to be there for you, they can’t even show up for themselves right now. You’re setting yourself up for a bitter end and sore disappointment. Instead of involving yourself in another persons turmoil for the sake of filling a void, heal yourself before taking on another job.
The truth is that we can’t do things for other people. People have to heal themselves, people have to go through things by themselves and people won’t even be able to take to your advice for as long as they’re not in a place to hear it. A lot of the time, the only thing you can do is care and be there when people are ready.
This does not mean that you need to wait for them.
When you really love someone and you want to be there for them, you’re gonna have to be honest. If you truly want someone to be the best version of themselves, if you truly just want them to be happy, that’s a pure intention and you’re willing to just help however you can. Not in a way that will sacrifice yourself to be able to go “look what I did for you!”, but in a way that’s like “hey man, you may not always want me- you may never want me, but I’m here when/if you do for as long as I can be”.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. The truth of the matter is that spending a lot of time with someone who isn’t in a good place can be really fucking draining, especially if you have your own issues. It’s really not a personal thing, it’s not anybody’s fault, it’s everybody’s boundaries being crossed over and subliminal expectations flooding everywhere and resulting in a bunch of arguments and a whole load of shit. It’s the blind leading the blind to be perfectly honest. We’re supposed to be lifting each other up here.
You always need to put yourself first. As somebody who wants to be there for another person, you have to be the light in the darkness. You have to keep your light on but if you’re spending all your time compromising your light to stay in somebody’s presence, your light is gonna dim and eventually burn out. Caring for somebody is not investing yourself so much into their life that you are dependent on their recovery, it’s getting on with yours and becoming so strong that you can hold space without expectation. Doing well for yourself is doing well for others.
Sometimes you are gonna have to be brutally honest and say things people don’t want to hear- but need to hear. Sometimes people will get pissed off with you and stop talking to you, or even have a go at you, because they can’t yet see that you’re doing the right thing. If you really care about them, you’ll know this isn’t a personal attack. This is just something they can’t see yet, and if you really have no expectations of this person- if you have pure intentions- you won’t even care that much. It’s not about what they can do for you, it’s about their recovery.
Caring for someone who is sad is knowing that a lot of times you’re gonna have to say no to them, and you’re gonna have to distance yourself from them. From time to time, you’re gonna have to step away from them and just have faith in the knowledge that they will return to you when they are ready for you. For the sake of your wellbeing, you’re gonna have to say no to playing along with their bullshit games and feeding in to their self destructive patterns. This is so that you can keep your light on. You wanna care for this person, not be an enabler to their downfall.
Your intention behind your actions determines your karma. The energy behind what you do will be amplified and returned to you three fold.
If anything, guaranteeing your presence and ability to listen as well as be there is probably one of the worst things you can do.
We all care and we all love. For as long as we aren’t fully grown or healed, we can’t commit to being there for others. Just keep your light on. At the end of it all, only love is real.