How to Protect Yourself from the Problems of Others

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 It is easy to become involved in the problems of others particularly for those we care about. Many of us feel compassion when we see others hurting and want to comfort and help them. However, many of us find that we need to be careful about over-extending ourselves in our help to others. Additionally, we find that we need to be careful about getting too involved with people who continually have unresolved problems. Our involvement with them can negatively affect our health and well-being.

It is important that we have a sense of how much we do each day, each week, and each month so that we can know how much time we have available for others and other activity requests which may come our way. We need to have a sense of how we are doing with our work loads and level of social involvement. If we are over-extended, we are vulnerable to take on even more responsibilities and become more involved in the problems of others.

 If we find that we are comfortable with our current schedule and our relationships we are in a place to evaluate our relationships without the distraction of being overwhelmed by having too much to do. We can then check ourselves to see if we recognize anyone in our lives who contacts us continually with a problem. Once we have identified people who do this, we can review our perceptions of their lives and see if we recognize if they seem to continually have problems. Have they made efforts to resolve their problems? We can then decide if what level of contact we would like to have with them in the future. If we have reached the point of not wanting to discuss their problems anymore, then backing off from those relationships can be helpful. Oftentimes, people who appear to swim in problems continually are not able to be good friends to us because they are often needy and view friendship as being fixed by others. One can tell a friend from someone who is not a friend by the level of respect, kindness, and appreciation one finds in others. Often, people who are immersed in problems are very selfish. They just want you to listen to them talk and you often feel trapped. If you try to cut a conversation short, they often don’t listen to your need to take care of yourself and will continue talking and will even become angry if you tell them you need to go.

As we remove people from our lives who have drained us with their problems and issues, we will become more free to focus on strengthening our own lives and building our current friendships.

Tips and Warnings:

  • Focus on taking care of yourself. If you do not take care of yourself no one else will.
  • Be careful how you become involved with others. Be cautious with people who are continuing to talk about their personal problems. It is not your responsibility to fix them and make their lives better. Be kind but don’t take over their lives for them. Be prepared to refer others to professional counseling if their lives appear to be out of control and they appear to be desperate.
  • Focus on meeting people that desire to grow, who want to make their lives better, who want to be respectful, kind people. 
  • Continue to evaluate your schedule to make sure you are not doing too much. Don’t permit others to ‘guilt’ you into doing things for them that you don’t want to do. A friend does not discount someone needs and use manipulation to get others to do things for them.
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