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We often see things in others they don't see in themselves--both positive and negative. It's often easy to nurture and encourage the positive. Depending on the relationship (for example, with a child, spouse, friend, mentee, employee), we may also attempt to help them address the negative--i.e., things that are hurtful and detrimental to them and/or others--by offering advice, guidance, support, and encouragement. But, as difficult as it may be to believe or accept, some people don't want our help. And sometimes they don't realize they need help. Other times, they're not ready for help. And, quite frankly, sometimes we want more for others than they want for themselves. So when we don't see positive results or a change in their actions, attitudes, or situation as a result of our "help", we may become tired, frustrated and/or discouraged. Have you ever given up when you feel you've done all you can, and your time would be better spent trying to help folks who are trying to help themselves? I've certainly been there.

But I also know/remember that there were times in my life when people tried to help me. They tried to plant seeds of faith, love, hope, support, and encouragement, among other things, in my life. But I couldn't see it, hear it, believe it, or receive it. Sometimes, it was because I chose not to. Sometimes, it was because the advice came from someone with whom I had baggage. But, most importantly, I wasn't ready. I needed more life experience(s). Unfortunately, I needed to learn some things the hard way. I had to be pruned before I was ready/able to understand both the help I needed and the help that was being offered. The seeds that had been planted had to be nurtured; the soil had to be prepared--I had to get rid of some weeds in my life. But when I was ready--which in some cases took years--those seeds grew and I was able to reflect upon, and appreciate, those who planted them--even though they were not always around to witness the growth.

What my own experiences taught me is that we may not always see the fruits of our labor when trying to help others. And even if we do, it may take longer than we expect. People are not always interested or ready when we want them/need them to be. Sometimes, we might have to be patient, get a little distance from the situation, let go, or move on. It may be that our role is to just plant the seeds. If it's meant to be, in due season, they will grow.

 


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