We all agree You Can’t Give What You Haven’t Got – So Why Do People Keep Trying until Burnout?

In flight you are told “if the plane loses pressure put the oxygen mask on yourself first” because if you faint, well you’re useless.

In New York when the plane hit the WTC i was standing in my office, people fainted, screamed, and i stood and calmed myself.

When completed my remote area rescue certificate we were intructred, “when you come across an injured person, check the environment first, (like for more rocks falling, or tigers, or snakes or bad people) which is kinda counterintuitive given they are screaming in pain and you want to stop the bleeding or whatever quickly. However, when you realise that two injured people don’t make one of them healthy, it makes sense.

Two stressed people do not make one happy one. When you give, give without stress and then you can give a heap without a problem. But if helping someone through a drama, interupts your “oxygen” supply, puts you under stress, breaks your self-leadership, you are giving way too much and will regret it.

So much of life is summarised in “give” and “take.” There are those who will take from you until you collapse. Did you know that in ocean rescue (I was a patrol captain in Surf Life Saving) – a drowning person will drown you to save themselves. It’s not so much a deliberate act but moreover an act of self obsession, survival. And this also happens at work.

When an individual is un-evolved, in a particular situation they will feel like they are drowning. They will grab anyone and anything to prevent the sinking. It’s really awful as their stress becomes the stress of others. That drowning work colleague or partner at home no longer cares about anything but themselves, they perceive a life and death situation even if, to the outsider, it’s really not.

Steps for Giving without going too far.

  1. Stay safe.. don’t become engaged in the problem… two stressed people do not make one happy one
  2. Calm yourself so you can be aware of the environment and not be caught and drown too.
  3. Do not belittle their perceived stress. To them, it’s pain and a person in pain is necessarily in distress, self absorbed, narcissistic.
  4. Focus on support and challenge to help them not just support.
  5. Disconnect from the outcome… just do your best to do what you can without sabotaging two people.
  6. Finally, and most important, if they don’t ask for help don’t give it. And be aware that what they think is the issue is rarely true. Self diagnosis of situations affecting us is incredibly faulty. Better, if you are asked for help, to do your own research before you end up solving a problem that doesn’t exist.

Two Stressed people do not make one happy one…

Christopher Walker

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