Are You Enabling Someone You Love?
My brother-in-law, Jim, had stayed with us since Thanksgiving. Prior to that he'd been homeless. Well, he just left a few days ago to rent a very small hotel room that has a community bathroom. During this time with us, we had some good, memorable times, like when he helped us bake cookies, the girls gave him a
makeover, we went to breakfast at Denny's, ate dinner together most nights. Jim and I loved to share light-hearted debates about life, our philosophies being on opposite ends of the spectrum.
I believe we create our destiny, that God lives within us, that our energetic vibration either attracts wonderful things to us or not-so-great things, that we're always at choice. Jim is a devout atheist, believes that emotions are meaningless, laughs at my energetic notions, doesn't believe in happiness, thinks we are sophisticated animals.
I never tried to convince Jim of my side. I merely told him to look at results. Was he happy? Admittedly, he wasn't. I believe under the surface he was in so much pain that he couldn't conceive of coping with life, let alone thriving. I tried to lift him up through an example of clarity and happiness. Things were fine overall.
Then Jim received some money that he'd been waiting on. And the first night, he went to the casino, and he won around $650. But, you see, he is a gambling addict, and he stayed at the boat from Tuesday until Friday evening without any sleep, surviving on nicotine, getting sick for lack of sleep. In the course of a week, he lost over $7,000 and was back to being destitute. This money had been his opportunity to start a new life, and he'd even enrolled in college. We were trying to give him a chance to make a new start. He was clean, neat, charming, articulate. But then his addictive personality took over, and his negativity began to affect our household. We needed to draw a boundary, and so we asked him to leave.
It was difficult because I have no idea how he's going to make it. I see so much potential in him,
but he is his own worst enemy. Perhaps you know someone like this. It's especially hard to not enable someone you love, but it really does them no favors. I really want to believe that Jim will figure things out and learn a lesson. The worse the behavior, the harder it is to see beyond it. By asking him to leave, in essence, we are putting faith in him to get a job and figure this out. Towards the end of Jim's visit, I became resentful and judgmental of him.
I didn't want to feel this way, but I did. I know no one is perfect, and I have some of the same defects as Jim, even if just a small part. I can be close-minded, egotistical, self-righteous, fearful, defensive. I say this in response, "Whatever part of me created the suffering I see in Jim (because I do create my response to it and how I perceive it), I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you."
This is called ho'oponopono. It can heal the defects you see in others, by you taking ownership of the world you've created. The basis of it is that every single person on the planet is connected to one another. We are all one. As we heal defects within ourselves, they are healed in everyone. You cannot withhold love from one person and not withhold it from everyone. Chew on that for a while. I'm an expert at helping you come alive and be who you really are, accepting yourself right now.
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