Helping or Rescuing

To rescue means to save people from injury or harm, to liberate or release them from fear or other restriction, as when you remove a burden from their shoulders, or an obstacle from their path. Helping others is a noble endeavor, but not when it relieves them from the struggle that promotes growth. In that case, rescuing causes further injury. While your intent may be well meaning, you prevent others from experiencing the consequences of their behavior, so no learning takes place. And, since there is no motivation to change, nothing happens when they shirk responsibility and blame others for the outcome of their choices.

Change That Lasts Comes From Within

If you are a compassionate person, others’ wellbeing is important to you. When they are in pain or failing you want to help them. The problem arises when you get so wrapped up in saving others you neglect yourself. Many times you are too close to the person to be objective, so you can’t see that change is a decision that has to come from within, not from prodding and threats. Although these tactics may work for the short term, soon the old battle begins; with you feeling so drained and powerless you can’t concentrate on what you need to do to reach your goals. But feeling drained and powerless has a purpose, as do most distractions: when you are tired and overwhelmed, you can’t do what you are afraid to do.


You might think only positive choices are decisions, and that negative outcomes happen to you. As a child you were not always conscious that you were making decisions, but you were making them nonetheless. Of course, some things are beyond your control – genetics, natural disasters, taxes, and death– but as an adult you always have control over how you react to what happens. No one can make you feel or think anything.

If you look in your dictionary for the word decide you’ll find that one definition is to bring something to an end. As mentioned above, you do not end anything because of pressure from others. You may stop what you’re doing for a time, but when the pressure is off you go back to your old ways.

Change takes place when you choose freely, consciously, and willingly. Until then you fake it, or you arrange to let someone else make the choice for you. Or someone sets you up to choose by using guilt or threats. Then whatever you choose, it is his fault (he made me do it). Now everybody feels powerless.