I had a Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) meeting to go to, so I couldn’t possibly write for the 31 Day Challenge, today. Nope. Can’t write. I’m too busy healing and learning. Big job, healing.
I shared for the first time. A few others had shared on the topic of trying to be helpful, easing the path of others, and how it’s problematic. Earlier this week, I had my “but I’m just being helpful!” flipped back at me by an utter stranger.
I like second-hand puzzles. I like getting them from thrift stores and yard sales for $0.50. I like the risk of it. Will all the pieces be there? What will I find when I open the box? Sometimes the puzzle inside will be completely new, with the pieces still in a sealed bag. Once there was a dart game in the box, instead of a puzzle.
So I opened this particular box’o’puzzle, and… someone had left it neatly sorted into baggies. In fact, the border had been left assembled, to spare me the work. The previous puzzler was helpfully trying to do a kindness for the next person, and it robbed me of some of the fun of solving the puzzle. It wasn’t helpful. I wanted to solve my own puzzle. The act of solving it is the whole point.
And all week I’ve been puzzling over this puzzling puzzle predicament.
How many times have I tried to be “helpful” and make life easier for someone else, and actually robbed them of the joy and challenge of solving their own puzzle? My compulsive need to help, to be useful, kept them from finding out how capable they are of guiding their own needs, wants, and life. One of my biggest struggles has been stepping back and not meddling. Not trying to fix things. Even if someone else wants those things fixed, it might be something they really, really need the experience of solving themselves. Maybe they need someone to tell them they can, instead of doing it for them.
My mind keeps coming back to it, rolling it over like a stone in a river. The point of solving a problem is to solve it, not necessarily the solution itself. I need to stop trying to jump in to help, unasked.
And that was my CoDA share this week, and the first time I’ve shared. So I can’t write this post. I’m too busy being gobsmacked by my realizations.