By Cathy Eck
It is so hard to watch our loved-ones struggle
It is tempting to want to help others when we see them struggle. We feel the need to give advice, lift them up, or fix them. I often want to just step in and fix the damn problem. At times people complain about a problem, and I give them my advice. Then I wonder why they don’t take it. I don’t realize that they actually want the struggle.
I’ll be honest. Their point of view makes no sense to me. I hate struggle. I don’t learn well through struggle. When I get myself in trouble, I want a solution. NOW! But we all learn in different ways, and some people believe they learn most when they struggle. So we have to let them experience the result of their beliefs. For those of us who don’t like or understand struggle, we might have to look the other way.
Letting Others Hatch
When I was young, my dad found a dead mother duck and her abandoned nest. Wanting to save the ducklings, he gathered the eggs, brought them into our house, and set up a makeshift incubator system. We anxiously watched the eggs, hoping that his efforts would save the ducklings. Finally, one day, the eggs began to crack and out came one duckling after another. Eventually, only one egg was left, and that egg was not cracking. In an effort to help the duckling, my dad cracked the egg just a bit. The newborn emerged. But a few days later, he died.
My dad felt terrible. He realized that the struggle was exactly what the duck needed to grow strong. He had interfered with nature’s perfect process. He used the event to teach us that when we help others and don’t let them do things for themselves, we sometimes deprive them of the chance to learn, to grow, and to strengthen.
Struggling or Suffering
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating letting someone struggle so long and so hard that they suffer in an abusive way. I’m not saying to never help others. We just have to make sure we don’t jump in too fast.
But why do people struggle anyway? I do find that people who struggle often believe that they learn most through problems. They are the ones that have to hit bottom before the light of day shines on them. That is a programmed response that can be changed. It is not the truth.
These people need to see the difference between natural struggle, which comes when we grow and learn new things and unnatural struggle that is thinking your problems are part of life, punishment for something you’ve done, or your fate. Some people say and believe that life itself is one big struggle. Problems are not natural unless we believe they are. But it is very hard to see that when you are caught in the middle of them.
Struggling is a product of our false mind. It is eliminated by letting go of the false belief that is the cause. Letting go always shifts our perspective. Natural struggle for the purpose of learning or growing in strength is never painful or emotional if we learn how to let go. As a matter of fact, having done this many, many times, struggle is simply a call to let go. It is never a punishment or a reason to suffer. But most people are not trained to let go. When struggle happens, they hold on even tighter. And that is where we are most helpful to them.
Think of a child learning how to walk — they approach it with a sense of joy and adventure. The journey is fun. Learning new things is fun, challenging, and rewarding. It can also feel like a struggle at times. But the struggle is a pushing through like the chicken coming out of the egg. It is not a pushing back.
Unlearning old things can also be fun. But most people turn unlearning (or letting go) into a huge struggle. When they do that, it is very painful. That is because we’ve been trained to believe that letting go is difficult, impossible, or wrong. We don’t know how to unlearn. We are hoarders of beliefs and information.
Letting go is simple once we realize that it is natural. When we finish using our computer for the day, we walk away. We don’t carry it around with us. We know we don’t need it anymore. We know it is not part of us. Sadly, people often think that their problems do follow them. They carry them around as if they are part of them.
We Only Heal Ourselves
Often people ask me to heal them or clear their mind for them. Even if someone does act in the role of healer for us, the patient always heals themselves. More often, people believe they are cured when they have really just accepted another belief that canceled out or balanced the first one. That is not bad; but problems go away when we truly cure them. The ancient masters taught that fixing the effect isn’t true and complete healing. True healing is always a letting go, a clearing our of our mind, a movement toward greater freedom in our life.
Real Support During Struggle
Supporting one another is a wonderful thing; and there is just not enough of it in this world. It makes the trip so much more enjoyable. The very best support you can give is to trust that the person has their own all-powerful and wise true Self, and that true Self knows the way. Trusting that ducks can hatch on its own is a huge gift that people rarely give to each other.
Gently reminding another to let go of beliefs that are not win-win or don’t feel good is also a great way to support them. Reminding the struggling person that they are not their struggle, or reminding them of who they were before the struggle, can also help. Even allowing them to share their heart’s desires with you can support them in letting go of the problem. Supporting other people’s dreams is the greatest gift we can give them. Supporting their problems by agreeing with them, letting them whine incessantly, or getting down in the manure with them is not support. It is wanting to look good or kind. It is not wanting to hurt their false self. But to heal, the false self has to let go, and if people think their false self is who they are, it will hurt to let go. But they will be better for having gone through that struggle.
The Dark Side of Charity
Charity, on the surface, seems humanitarian and good. But much like cracking the duckling’s egg, it weakens the person. It makes them dependent on others. Independence is what makes a person joyous and free.
Instead of doing it for them, let go of the belief in you that the other can’t do it themselves. Let go of the lie that they are or have the problem you see. It won’t cost you but a moment of your time. And you just might be the one who tips the scale energetically and shifts the course of their life.
It is the old teach a man to fish and he fishes for a lifetime aphorism. Teach your friends how to let go, support them in doing so, and you will have very happy friends for a lifetime.
Need a little help with letting go of your beliefs, try this article: Letting Go of Beliefs