I have two friends, who don't know one another, who have both been having a really rough time lately. Part of the trouble they mention is that they are each lonely and seeking a companion (no, I don't think they would make a good couple), and I understand that this time of year can be an ordeal when you hear all about how the holiday is for spending with your loved ones.
My heart is filled with compassion for their plight. I wish that I could help them in some truly meaningful way. I offer what comfort, advice and other help I can (being careful to make sure it's what they want). Yet I know that ultimately they each need to use their own resources to lift themselves out of their unhappy situations.
On a smaller scale, I am frequently the peacemaker in my immediate family. My very nature leads me to seek harmony. So I am often the one to facilitate when there is conflict between family members, looking for a solution that will work for everyone. Sometimes it works, and other times they seem to want to experience their own drama until they are ready to release it. It occured to me today that the desire for harmony is only my own perspective, and might be better kept to myself. Perhaps I should only give my ideas when I'm asked.
This could be true with my two friends, as well. Maybe they need to learn the challenging lessons they're experiencing, for reasons unknown to me (or even to them, in some cases). Unless they ask, maybe my help isn't needed or desired.
Of course, sometimes it's hard to ask for help even when you want it, so I think I'll continue to make the offer, in a more general way: "is there anything I can do to help?" But my well-intentioned search for harmony could be derailing what would naturally happen in these varying situations. I want to be more respectful of each individual's lessons. Though I'm not reprimanding myself. After all, I was just trying to help.