Finding the Peace

Watching Our Loved One Walk a Painful Journey

It is difficult to watch those we love walk down a path that we feel might be detrimental to that person. And it is just as difficult to watch someone we love struggling as he/she sits in a difficult space. We instinctively want to help, maybe fix the problem or offer our own insight and wisdom. Or maybe we just watch the process and pass judgment on the choices that our loved one is making while thinking he/she is wrong and we know better. Some may even get angry as they watch someone live his/her life out in a way that is against their own better judgment. 

Even in the name of caring for another, we can act as if we have his/her answers and may play “god” in thinking we know best. But do we really know best as to what that person really needs?  I believe that everything happens in some sort of order and our own personal journey is just that – our own “personal” journey with our own personal choices.  Yes as we watch our loved one make choices to walk a difficult path, we can see the fall coming.  But who are we to decide that our loved one should or should not have this fall?  Even those painful, dark nights of the soul may be perfect for that person. Perhaps it is the exact pain and situation that will take that person inward to assess for his/her own answers and healing. It may be that the exact situation that is the perfect opportunity to take the person “home” to his/her soul and there he/she will find opportunity to change his/her life around for the better.

It is in our journey of life that we have the opportunity to figure out who we are and what we need to be doing. Very seldom do we make changes towards inner growth without some prodding of painful moments from the outside world. Rather than cringing at the moments, perhaps we need to embrace those we love and give them permission to walk their own path in spite of our concern. Be there for the person, but refrain from judgment and/or rescuing. Allow our loved one to have his/her discomfort.  Those that are most uncomfortable are the ones that are likely to change in a situation.  And if through the pain our loved one doesn’t make changes, not to worry as he/she will have another opportunity to get it figured out.  It isn’t our job to manage the journey, it is our job to be loving and caring and allow our loved one the space to find his/her way.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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