Where does this tendency come from? I could blame it on my family, who are themselves a tribe of rescuers and fixers. I could blame it on being an artist—that I'm just so tapped into feelings that it's difficult to turn off the radar. I could blame it on being a teacher—encouraged by the profession to try to change the lives of others. But the seed was sown much earlier.
|Photo by Shawn Keagy|
One of my fellow healers calls this tendency “doing someone else's homework.” As a former teacher, the analogy is particularly meaningful. I remember how angry I would get when parents would do their kids' homework. But maybe parents do their children's homework for the same reason I feel the need to rescue: it's painful to stand by and watch someone struggle. But when I try to solve someone else's problems, I rob them of their journey. And I rob myself of the opportunity to work on my own lessons.
So for the time being, I am out of service. I'll be taking some time off from my knee-jerk help reflex to reroute my energy to the work I want to do. I won't be surprised if my work ends up helping others, but this time I'll be offering my gifts freely. I will no longer be a slave.