We all seem to have a lot of frustration with our friends, family and clients who continue in behaviors that are obviously bad for them.
Why won’t Dad quit smoking?
Why won’t Jane leave her abusive boyfriend?
Why can’t my son take his rehabilitation seriously?
I wish Mom would lose some weight!
I think most of us have been on both sides of this issue at one time or another. There’s frustration on both sides. The person with the unhealthy behavior usually thinks they are doing the best they can.
The person who wants to see an effort toward healing is worried about the well-being of someone they love or for whom they feel responsible.
Here’s the simple truth.
No one heals before they are ready. No one relinquishes unhealthy behaviors until they are ready.
This causes so much regret. Why did I quit smoking at 38 rather than 28? Why did I wait 5 years to begin a reasonable weight loss program? Why couldn’t I have gotten through college when I was young?
The answer is simple. I just wasn’t ready.
When we love someone who is involved in an unhealthy behavior the one thing we need is patience. They won’t change their behavior until they are ready.
The question is this. Is there anything we can do to help the people we love get ready to heal? Is there anything we can do to speed up our own process toward freedom from unhealthy behaviors?
Many of these unhealthy behaviors are truly dangerous. We are all better served by healing earlier rather than later.
As with most things, I think love is the answer. The more we love ourselves the stronger we will be. The more we have compassion, even at a distance, for our flawed loved ones, the stronger they will be.
Love, patience and understanding are the things that help us become ready to heal.