Friday, August 4, 2017

Don’t sow flowers in gardens of people who won’t water them

personal growth

Our resources are limited. Our energy is not inexhaustible, in the same way as our time and attention. This means we have to be more careful when deciding where we invest them.

Unfortunately, often we are not fully aware that our emotional and cognitive resources are limited, so we end up wasting them, engaging in activities that are worthless or relating with people who do not appreciate them.

Don’t strive for someone who does not appreciate what you do


Compassion and the ability to help the others are characteristics that ennoble us and allow us to grow as people. However, everything has a limit beyond which you could start hurting yourself without realizing it and without the other person appreciating it.

How do you know when you are struggling unnecessarily?

- When you make more efforts for the other person than he or she does

- When your level of compromise is greater than that of the person you are trying to help

- When you risk a lot to help someone, but that person does not risk anything at all

- When you are consuming too much on the road, but the other person is not willing to invest the same amount of energy

- When that person does not value your time, commitment, and dedication

- When that person would not be willing to do the same for you

In these cases, it would be worthwhile to wonder if it is worth wasting enough energy, time and effort to plant flowers that no one will water, since the person you are helping is not interested in them.

Remember there are situations where the best way to help is not doing it. If your intervention takes on hyperprotective tones, you might even prevent the person from growing up and learning the lesson. After all, we do not mature with the years, but with the errors.

A weird equilibrium where one consumes himself and the other does not assume the compromise


In many interpersonal relationships, in the couple, between parents and children or among friends, is established an unhealthy balance in which one always acts as a salvation while the other merely clings to him or her.

Thus, the person who assumes the role of "savior" ends up consuming himself without receiving virtually anything in return. And the person who is "saved" can’t grow because feels too comfortable in his or her role.

In practice, it's like planting flowers continuously because, since the other person does not assume his responsibility and does not water them, they end up drying up. Obviously, this is an unhealthy behavior that no one would repeat, but in interpersonal relationships, especially when feelings are involved, it is not always easy to realize that we are planting flowers in the desert.

This does not mean that we should abandon that person to his or her destiny, but it is certainly a sign that he or she is not on the right track. Maybe that person is too selfish to acknowledge your commitment, perhaps he or she is not willing to take on the responsibility and commitment required by the situation or maybe just do not make the effort you are doing to help him or her out.

In fact, the main problem of this insane equilibrium is that you give, you compromise yourself and assume much more responsibility than the other person to solve a problem that is not yours.

We all need and deserve to be loved, recognized and sustained


This is not a quid pro quo. But we all need to know that there are people who love us, support us, and recognize our efforts. If we give ourselves continually without receiving anything in return, we should not be surprised if one day, wandering within us, we perceive a huge emotional void.

Therefore, although this does not mean that we must only help those who can return our favor, it is important that we use our time and energies with those people who really recognize our efforts and, above all, are willing to engage and assume their responsibility, not with us, but with themselves, with the process of change and improvement they have begun.

What is the solution? You simply shouldn’t sow, but help seed the flowers, making it clear from the beginning that you are willing to help but that final responsibility is not yours, and that you expect the same level of commitment and effort from the other person.

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Don’t sow flowers in gardens of people who won’t water them
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Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to to string words together. Discover my Books

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