This is a major cause of burnout in the caring professions
What about when someone we care about is going through a crappy place in their lives? This is such an interesting subject, because I come across people literally making themselves sick about this all the time – two of the people who were having healing sessions for the Happiness program just this week were carrying physical problems for this reason.
People who work in the caring professions – nurses, doctors, masseurs, alternative therapists and energy workers of all descriptions, physios, social workers – all have to be specially careful of this problem – it’s a MAJOR cause of burnout and can be a major cause of illness too.
One of the most dramatic examples of this “misery multiplied” problem that I’ve come across was a little dog called Sammy, a tiny chihuaha who was brought to my healing clinic dying – literally. He had a rapidly growing tumor on the adrenal glands, he could barely walk. They’d tried chemo but it had made him so much worse they had to stop. The vet had said to his owner that he was in his last days and he certainly looked like that when he arrived – a grossly swollen little belly, tail drooped under, weird looking coat, barely able to move.
What I discovered during the healing session, was that he had spent 2 years on his dying owners lap keeping him company and what he had done, was to take on his owner’s illness in his misguided attempt to “do anything to help his person get better”. We fixed that in his healing session and he improved enough to walk out under his own steam with his tail up.
Then we spent the next 10 weeks (maybe 6 sessions from memory?) supporting his body to do the healing that was needed. The photo you see here was taken 10 weeks later, the day after the vet had given him the “all clear” – no tumor anymore.
I call this “jumping in their whirlpool”. Think of a whirlpool – once you’ve jumped in to rescue the drowning person in trouble, you’re stuck there and can’t get out either. Then when you run out of energy to hold them up, you both drown. Well Sammy had jumped in and he had definitely run out of energy and was drowning too.
The point of telling you this Sammy story is that crappy feeling of “I’d do anything to help this person I care so much about to get better” is like jumping in that whirlpool and it’s not just an energy thing that has you feeling crappy – although it certainly can do that – it can be physically dangerous as well, like it was for Sammy and many other people I’ve come across over my 27 years as an alternative therapist.
Come back to this place again in a minute
Here’s another way of looking at the professional burnout / worry about loved ones thing and a way to support them instead of drowning in their whirlpool. Have a look at this diagram again. The people we care about are taking steps towards their goals and dreams – like us, they are experiencing change places on the way to their dreams. These changes are essential for them to “get” in order to reach their dream.
So what happens when we feel sorry for them in that change place and we try to “make them better” without them getting that understanding or making that change or taking that action, whatever it is that they need to do?
Or even worse, if we do whatever it is for them?
Ahhaaa… yes – they bounce around in that struggling place for even longer – we actually get in the way of them reaching their goals and dreams.
Think about how exciting this is to understand and how effective it is to think instead “How best can I support the people I love or feel sorry for, to reach THEIR goals and dreams?” How best can I support their change place?
[framed_box style=”note”]If you work in one of the caring professions and have a tendency to burn out or if you’re one of those natural and sensitive nurturers (always beautiful people!) who worry about others and even bigger if you’re one of those people who want to make a difference in the world, then you’ll need to get to the bottom of what YOU believe in, so there’s a strong foundation of understanding underneath you as you work with people who are in difficult change places in their lives.[/framed_box]
Go back to that place I marked for you above
Go back to that place I marked for you above and look at those diagrams again, with a view to feeling into your Truth about how OTHER people reach THEIR goals and dreams too and your role in that.
And tomorrow I’ll give you a simple process for working out how best to support other people’s change places.