It’s none of your business – Jun Po.
This was one of the best pieces of life advice I’d ever received.
Initially, though, I was thinking, “What the heck? My friend is suffering and I want to help. You’re telling me it’s none of my business?”
His reply was simple. Jun Po said once more, “Yes, it’s none of your business.”
Let me put it in context for you:
I have spent most of my life trying to help the people I care about feel less pain. With best intentions, I wanted to solve their problems.
In recent years, I have practised listening and am getting better at it. I even wrote an article entitled 3 Steps to Become a Better Listener. So, when my friends come to me with problems, I listen and they tell me more about the issues they are facing.
Out of habit and genuine caring, I jump into fix-it mode. It is partly a guy thing, even though regardless of gender, we all do this to some degree.
I’m sure you’re familiar with wanting to fix others’ problems and it’s one of the reasons you’re reading my blog and following me on Facebook and Twitter. It’s not meant to be a criticism. It comes from having a big heart and caring about the people you love.
So, where does my good friend, mentor and Zen Master Jun Po Dennis Kelly’s advice fit in?
Each person on this planet suffers in some way almost every day. Even if it’s subtle and difficult to see from an outsider’s perspective, it’s still there. I’m sure even the Dalai Lama struggles some days and that’s why he meditates daily.
What is the most common way we try and fix others?
The typical way we try to help our friends is by throwing out enough advice with the hope that some of it will stick.
Unfortunately, we are giving advice based on our own life experiences and how we would deal with the problem. This strategy doesn’t work for our friends’ unique situations.
You’ve probably tried it long enough to realize that the people you care about experience the same challenges over and over again. Just like you have done after receiving valuable advice from others.
When we try to fix others, it creates more pain for us. I understand because I spent the better part of my life trying to fix others. It’s hard work and I didn’t fix anyone in the process.
Instead, the experience gave me more pain and suffering than satisfaction. It was frustrating when people did not take my advice which I know would have helped them.
What is the solution?
The only solution is to create a space for them, a safe haven, where they can open up to you. This will enable them to find their answers to their problems.
What they confide in us within that space is none of our business. We should not carry their problems with us. It is not our fault or problem if our friends and loved ones are not ready yet to take control of their lives.
They will get it when they get it and not a moment before.
Everybody is different. They have different life experiences, see things differently and ultimately feel differently.
So, when they share something they are struggling with, we need to allow them the space to work through the process based on what they know.
Just like you and me, they probably are already aware of the solution and they don’t need someone pointing out the obvious.
So, the next time you want to fix something or somebody, remember that it is none of your business. When they have suffered enough, you will be there for them, creating the open, heartfelt space they need when they are ready to learn.
How have you realized in your own life that you cannot fix your loved ones’ problems? What are you doing to ensure you are there for your friends and family without bombarding them with advice and carrying their pain? Comment down below. I’d love to hear from you.