Oftentimes, when we’re giving advice or trying to help someone to do something, we live (without realizing it) the life of the person we’re trying to help.

For example, there are many parents who encourage their children to go to a certain college, either because they didn’t get into that college or because they believe that college is great for the future of their children. This way, the parents end up, involuntarily, to live the life of their children.

As a result, the children no longer experience the things they desire and, in some extreme cases, they do exactly what they’re told and they only chase a direction provided by their parents. Yes, the control of the parents is exaggerated here.

Because things like these happen when you are young, in your adulthood you may end up putting the same pressure on your friends and even children. Therefore, it happens many times that when a friend is in a not-so-good situation to want to be close to them and guide them as you would guide yourself. But you’re going to do it without knowing the situation or the person well enough.

And we get to a point where we live other people’s lives without taking good care of ours.

What’s the main disadvantage?

The main disadvantage is that the more you live the lives of others, the less you’ll focus on your life.

If a friend told you that they want to lose weight, then you’ll provide all kinds of methods and solutions, and you’ll put in the effort to help your friend lose weight. And you’ll be really focused on helping your friend if that friend is someone important in your life.

It’s truly amazing to want to help people, overall. But two unpleasant things could happen:

1) If you invest too much effort, you’ll end up getting yourself involved emotionally. When the things you suggest to your friend won’t have any results or when your friend won’t want to put them into practice, you’ll eventually become emotionally frustrated.

2) Because you invest that much effort towards a direction that has nothing to do with your well-being, you won’t see specific results or improvements in your life. Even more, you won’t have the energy to invest in the things you want to change at yourself.

That’s being said, you should be careful not to reach a point where you’re frustrated because your help is not taken into consideration or because it provides no results.

Why do we choose to get ourselves involved in other people’s lives more than in our own?

Because it’s easier.

It’s easier to provide advice to someone and that someone takes full responsibility for putting in the effort behind your advice so they can have results.

Otherwise, if you would have to put in the effort, you may realize that effort is too big and it would mean for you to step out of your comfort zone, adapt to a new habit, change your mindset, and more. All these are things with which people are not used to and we don’t usually like to step out of our comfort zone and experiment new things.

Another idea would be that when you decide to live other people’s lives you may think it’s going to be beneficial. But it won’t be beneficial to you.

No matter how much you would love to help others, no matter how much satisfaction you would get from seeing improvements in other people’s lives, you’ll eventually get to a point where you’ll need such things. That’s where you’ll have to struggle and make sure you add the needed changes to your lifestyle.

When that need to change will appear, you’ll consider that, because you were close to your friends, they should be close to you. And it may not happen because others aren’t obliged to do anything for us, no matter how much we did for them.

As mentioned before, you’ll end up being disappointed, frustrated, just because others won’t be involved in helping you.

What can you do?

The best thing you could probably do when it comes to getting yourself involved in the lives of others has a lot to do with your expectations.

It’s cool to want to get yourself involved in other’s lives, but the moment you decide to provide advice and solutions regularly is a moment that also generates expectations towards the person you’re trying to help.

For example, you may suggest to a friend to quit his job and start a business because you believe he’s really good at something and that something would help the community grow (a thing that’s mostly important for you). When you provide help towards that direction (or any direction, actually), you’ll create expectations connected to that direction.

Before getting yourself involved in other people’s lives, become conscious of the expectations you start having, in which direction are they, and what emotional impact they may have in both your live and the live of the person you’re trying to help.

More important, understand if the one you’re trying to help needs your help or not. After all, unsolicited help produces unwanted changes.

With love and optimism,
David