'There is much I do not know'

My role as a helper is not to do things for the person I am trying to help but to be things, not trying to control and change his actions but through understanding and awareness to change my reactions.

I will change my negatives to positives, fear to faith, contempt for what he might do to respect for the potential within him, hostility to understanding, and manipulation or overprotectiveness to release with love, not trying to make him fit a standard or image but giving him an opportunity to pursue his own destiny, regardless of what that choice might be.

I will change my dominance to encouragement, panic to serenity, the inertia of despair to the energy of my own personal growth, and self-justification to self-understanding.

Self-pity blocks effective action.

The more I indulge in it, the more I feel that the answer to my problems is a change in others and society, not in myself. Thus, I become a hopeless case.

Exhaustion is the result when I use my energy in mulling over the past with regret, or in trying to figure ways to escape a future that has yet to arrive. Projecting an image of the future and anxiously hovering over it for fear that it will or won't come true, uses all my energy and leaves me unable to live today.

Yet living today is the only way to have a life.

I will have no thought for the future actions of others, neither expecting them to be better or worse as time goes on, for in such expectations I am really trying to create. I will love and let be.

All people are always changing. If I judge them, I do so based only on what I think I know of them, failing to realize that there is much I do not know.

I will give others credit for attempts at progress and for having had many victories that are unknown to me.

I, too, am always changing, and I can make that change a constructive one, if I am willing. I can change myself. Others I can only love.
This passage is from the literature of Families Anonymous, a 12-step-type program for adult family members of people who are drinking or drugging and acting out. I've found it helpful for years in many situations. Maybe you can use it today.


  1. Kelly, just a few moments ago I got a (forwarded) email from my sister. It was a one-line email from my dad to her, saying, "Not that anyone cares, but I've been diagnosed with bone cancer." I haven't talked to my dad in years, and I think we both prefer it that way. Your quotation from "Families Anonymous" struck me. I think I might get a copy of that book. It will probably be very helpful in the coming days. Thank you.

  2. Greg, if it's helpful, I'm glad. There's no shortage of hardship and sorrow out there. Everybody suffers, and nobody gets out alive.
    Google Families Anonymous and take it from there. I wish you and your family comfort.
    Love and peace ~ kjb

  3. Kelly-a very poignant posting; a lesson I learned a long time ago and have had to remind myself of through these years. A lesson one reviews usually on an occasion of some sadness--reminding us that others live their lives as they see themselves and sometimes there is great sadness that we just don't see it the same way. we don't change them, but we do change ourselves in that we bury the pain deeper in ourselves. love and peace to you S.Rockett

  4. Kelly, you are a true Bodhisattva.

  5. Wow, how did I miss this last year? Oh, I know; I was still reeling from being fired for the first time in my life.

  6. Kelly, that is great advice -- very wise and very useful. I am printing it and will pass it on -- also the Families Anonymous resource. Thanks, Joanie