Recognize Walls – and don’t punch them!

I have spent too much of my life punching walls — both literally and figuratively. When I mean I have punched walls in my life I mean that when I was younger, I would sometimes get so upset with life that I would pummel the wall. The only result of this was extremely bruised hands (thankfully nothing ever broke) and not much positive other than the fact that nobody got punched — it was just an unfeeling wall.

Some walls are more subtle, and come in the form of people. You have a friend that just can’t seem to hold down a job, or is always having problems with relationships. You recognize what seems to be the blindingly obvious reason these problems are happening and you want to help — yet every time you approach the person with the best intended advice, they push you away and tell you that they are fine and will manage on their own.

Years go by and you can clearly see that absolutely nothing has changed — it’s as though they keep walking in the same circle. “If you keep turning right at every intersection, you’ll never get anywhere beyond a one block area!” you want to yell at the top of your lungs.

They come to you to tell you how unhappy they are and how they wish things would just change for the better. You try to tell them that things aren’t just going to change on their own and recommend things they can actually do. Not only do they outright ignore your advice but they seem to do the exact opposite — almost to spite you!

They are the brick wall, and all you are doing is punching them in hopes they will move — they will not! The sooner you recognize this, the sooner your hand will begin to heal as it were. You aren’t doing them any favors — they aren’t really listening to you as you try to offer them legitimate advice. When they come to you to complain, they have no interest in a solution — only an ear to hear so they aren’t sat by the fire talking to themselves.

If it should happen that they come to the realization that they need and want help and seek it from you — give it freely! Until then know that you may just be punching a wall every time you offer advice.


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