My last year in college I dated this guy and for the most part he had his life together. I remember questioning what my purpose was in the relationship because I couldn’t help him. It’s as if my value (to myself) was dependent upon how much I could help him.
Fast forward some years later when I graduated with my master’s degree. There was this deep rift that had developed in my family. At the time, I was using my graduation as a meeting place – an event I could use to get everyone involved in the room. I hoped we could discuss, mend, and heal – together.
I didn’t share this plan with anyone – not that sharing it would have helped it succeed – but I felt defeated when the plan didn’t go as planned, the two didn’t reconcile, and we were back at square one.
I remember planning my life accomplishments around this reconciliation. I started to plan when I’d get my next degree so we could be together again, and think about when I’d get married – being careful not to allow too much time in-between. All of this to help mend an issue I didn’t have.
I’ve spent a lot of years in therapy trying to understand my role in all of this. And in therapy, in the early 2010’s and up to last year I remember my therapists – different therapists – saying, “You can’t save them.” Everyone’s relationships, healing, and lives are their own.
You can advise and suggest but ultimately people have to do their own work. They have to fix their own relationships, get their own therapists, and find their own jobs. You can help but you are not their Savior. Take your hand off of it. Some things aren’t for you to carry.
If you identify with any of this, please seek help. I know it’s hard to see someone hurting or relationships broken but you can’t fix everything or everybody.
Now more than ever you need to focus on you. Do what you can and set some boundaries. You can’t save them. You can only save yourself.