You cannot save someone who needs to drown – but you can save yourself from going down with them
There is a tendency I have observed in myself, in people I love, in clients and in the world in general, and that is the tendency of the Feminine trying to drag the Masculine out of its toxic state of unconsciousness into the light. I am not necessarily talking about women trying to drag men here, although this is the most prevalent constellation. I am talking about the energetic Feminine and Masculine in all of us. And sometimes that might mean a man (with a well developed Feminine and relatively mature Masculine) trying to make a woman (with a relatively strong immature Masculine) evolve her consciousness.
Just to recap in case you are not familiar with the concept of Masculine and Feminine polarities. We live in a world of duality, where everything is either energetically Masculine (yang) or Feminine (yin). These energies can be expressed in their evolved, mature and healthy form or find unevolved, immature and toxic expression. When talking about the unevolved vs. the evolved Masculine, we are basically talking about unconsciousness vs. consciousness. When talking about the unevolved vs. the evolved Feminine, we are basically talking about conditional “love” vs. unconditional Love and also Trust.
We need to be in touch with our physical body, our inner world, our feelings, emotions and intuition… in other words, with the Feminine in us, in order to evolve our Masculine. Because you cannot become conscious about anything that you do not feel in the first place. People with a naturally stronger Feminine, like many women and some men, thus tend to have it easier to remain conscious or to return to consciousness even in a highly unconscious, toxic world.
A client of mine just recently described to me how she had grown up in a highly abusive family and socio-cultural environment. Even if she had to learn to dim her light and to temporarily escape into unconsciousness to protect herself, she always knew deep down inside that what was happening around her was wrong. She somehow managed to preserve her consciousness through it all. Her younger brothers on the other hand got lost so deep in unconsciousness that they have not found their way back yet. As the oldest sibling she observed how innocent, loving, empathic little boys were turned into hard, intolerant, toxic young men. Witnessing their souls being crushed before her eyes and not being able to prevent it from happening – in fact being attacked for trying to by her very brothers themselves – hurt her more than the abuse she experienced herself. Having seen the pureness and beauty of their souls and knowing that this part of them is still alive somewhere, even if deeply buried, she continues desperately trying to infuse some of her own light into them – using the tool most valued in her family and that she learned to master so well due to her upbringing: “Masculine” logic – but to not much avail up till now, other than depleting herself emotionally and physically in the process.
I can think of many examples in my own life where – out of deep care and love – I have tried to “talk logic” into people – not understanding how they could just not “get it”. Whether it was my parents, a man I cared about or online vegans I had never met before, I could invest hours into conversations (usually of the written kind), drawing on the best of my argumentation and writing skills. Most of the times the conversation would lead nowhere – in worst case it would even turn against me – and I would find myself not only feeling frustrated, ineffective and misunderstood, but sometimes even attacked for trying to help, or like I was the one who got it all wrong (which is of course always a possibility). And even if the conversation DID help the other person gain some important insight or at least served to plant some seeds, the whole process would often absorb so much of my energy and time, literally leaving me empty and depleted, both emotionally and physically, with no (or little) energy left for my work, my writings (the ones that truly mattered), my hobbies, my love life… that at some point I always pondered if it was worth the effort – and usually came to the conclusion that it was not. And so I stopped trying eventually. I learned (and still learn) to choose my battles more wisely.
If today I choose to engage in discussions, it is from a much more conscious place and I can notice much quicker how open the other person is and when it is time to let it be. Note how I am not saying that I stop caring or that the other person is not worthy or that I give up on them. All I am saying is that I am conscious and loving enough towards myself to no longer want to deplete myself in the process of trying to “save” people who do not want to be saved (yet). To the contrary, they probably NEED to (nearly) drown in order to rediscover the deep desire to live fully and wholeheartedly. Me trying to keep their head above the water is not helping them nor is it helping me.
Letting go and allowing someone to (nearly) drown can be very hard to do, especially if we deeply care about that person. But just like children NEED to make their own mistakes, need to burn their own fingers, need to go through their own pain and dis-ease, in order to grow, learn important lessons and evolve beyond a dependent child, we all need to be allowed – and allow others – to go on our own individual and unique journeys of growth and evolution, including the pain and the suffering parts. In fact, those parts often turn out to be the most important and most transformative phases of our lives. Nobody can eventually know what is “right” for another person. We can (and should!) only decide and focus on what’s “right” for ourselves – something that is already hard enough – and trust that what is best for us will somehow and eventually also be best for everybody else. We all have to learn humility and accept that the world – and others – are able to go on and thrive without us. Sometimes it might feel like ONLY we can make them see and if we step away their souls will be lost. We have to let go of the ego’s pleasure in the rescuer role. Because by assuming the rescuer role, we keep the other in victim role. Nobody can save anyone else, we can only save ourselves. Of course we can offer help to others, and I believe focusing on saving ourselves first, helps others by giving them permission to save themselves, too.
IF you have seen the light and potential for growth in someone, IF you know that the seed they carry is still alive, rather than trying to force it to come to fruition before its time, TRUST in your knowing that the seed is there and that it will come out once the conditions are right. It might take longer than you would have hoped for, or the seed might need different conditions (sun, rain, fertilizer…) than YOUR seed needed (maybe it needs no fertilizing at all, just time), but if it is there and it is alive, TRUST. If necessary, let them know that you trust into their soul wisdom so deeply that you know they can manage without you. Let them know that you and your light will continue to be available for them, and that they just need to reach out for it when they feel ready to receive it. And then focus on taking care of your own plant, so it does not wither. Simply continue to flourish and to nourish yourself and others in the process.
If you constantly try to lift someone higher, but they are not collaborating and just hanging on your arm, in best case you will just end up using all your energy to maintain status quo, with neither of you advancing in any direction. In worst case, you will grow so tired and depleted, that you end up being pulled down again into unconsciousness by their weight. You will definitely NOT have any energy left to lift yourself to even higher levels of consciousness and love. You will NOT have any energy left to fulfill the purpose and mission you actually came here for. That's convenient if you do not actually know what your purpose is. But maybe then it's time to find out...
We all have gifts of enormous value to share, but not everybody wants to receive your unique gifts nor is able to recognize their value, no matter how much you insist. They might simply refuse to take it or end up pretending they like it, but then put it in the darkest corner of the basement. In any case, it is a waste both for them and for you to share your gifts with people who are not open to receiving them. You might even end up doubting the value of your gifts, while in reality there would have been many people happy to receive them – and probably even pay for them.
Go and find those people! They need you and you need them, and you are currently depriving both, them and yourself, by misusing your energy and resources. And who knows… the light you ignite in the people ready for it NOW might be the exact same people whose light will serve as a guide to the person you are so desperately trying to save later. It will still be your light, but it will come to them in another form.
As usual, let’s do on the inside what we are trying to do on the outside. Let’s use our energy, time and resources to continue evolving our OWN inner Masculine (because unless we are enlightened, we can always grow more conscious). Let’s focus on lifting OURSELVES higher. Let’s shine as bright as we can and on as many people as we can, so the light continues to spread, becoming omnipresent and penetrating even in the deepest darkness eventually. Let’s be ROLE models for what it means to be connected to our inner Feminine and to be an evolved Masculine: The awareness and ability to take good care of our physical and emotional needs. The awareness and ability to know when to set boundaries. Unconditional Love and Trust in a Higher Wisdom.
You cannot "save" someone who needs to drown, but you can save yourself from going down with them. You cannot force growth - but you can - and should - make sure you grow to the maximum of your own abilities.