Not everything in life is how we might like to have it.
We are humans with human weaknesses dealing with other humans with human weaknesses. Sometimes, those weaknesses complement each other and the result is trouble.
You have to love them. Those folks whose hearts are bigger than they are, reaching out to help others. They frequently do more than they can afford to do.
They do good works. People – like grandkids, nieces and nephews – come to them for help. The big hearts are always willing to bail someone out. I was once a “big heart.”
Occasionally, there can be a downside to their generosity. People know they can always be counted on to get them out of the financial bind they got themselves into. The big hearts with their loving generosity are creating attitudes of dependence. They are, in effect, enablers. They are allowing others to be irresponsible by rewarding irresponsible behavior.
When confronted with the consequences of their generosity, they say they won’t do it anymore, but they do.
I’m writing about this because I know several such big hearts who find themselves in financial difficulty because of their generosity. My father was one of those people who gave to others at the expense of his family. It was usually a “loan” that was never repaid. He just couldn’t say no. A typical big-heart failing.
If you are a big heart, you probably suffer from the problem, too.
Here’s a little test. Do you get upset with a grown child or grandchild for always coming to you with a financial problem? Do you almost always find a way to “help” them?
If the answers to those questions are “yes,” you are probably an enabler. You’re helping them stay irresponsible.
What is the answer? Tough love built into the simple two-letter word, “no,” or, “Sorry, I can’t help you. You’re just going to have to work this out for yourself. If you’d like to talk about it, maybe I can give you some ideas.”
I know this is a lot easier said than done, but in this situation you have to realize that it isn’t just the other person who has a problem. You are the biggest part of the problem. You are the only one who can “fix” it. It makes you feel guilty to say “no,” even if you know it is the right thing to do.
You may be wondering why I would want to write about a topic like “big heart dependence.” It’s not fun, but I have been watching young people self destruct because of big hearts. People I care about.
It just came to mind that there may be others who really don’t understand what is going on in their relationships and what the dynamics really are. If I can help anyone by sharing my experiences and the experiences of others, then an unpleasant column is worthwhile. If this makes sense and is of some help to you, let me know.
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.