Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Key Distinctions

I got this quotation from MrSponsorPants this morning:

"Sometimes I think there is but a molecule's difference between
helping and enabling...
between hope and expectation...
between faith and fantasy."

And yet the distinction between all three makes a colossal difference in how you live your life.

So, some clarifications on this Veteran's Day:

When you enable someone, your assistance helps them continue their bad behavior. When you help someone, your assistance does NOT support their bad behavior. Thus, we don't call in sick for our hungover spouse. We let him face the consequences at work, or minimally he has to take some responsibility for his bender and make the phone call himself. But don't be crazy. It's insanity to refuse to drive a drunk person home because you don't want to "enable" him. If you do that, you might allow him to kill some innocent person as well as himself. Go ahead and drive him home, or, better yet, call him a taxi and have him face the consequence of the cab fare. In any case, whatever you do, NEVER support an alcoholic or addict by offering them "psychological reasons" they drink or, unhappy life, a bad event, problems in a marriage, etc. They use because they're addicts. Period. There's no other reason. Alcoholics just love it when enablers excuse their drinking for them. When you do that, you might as well go ahead and pour them the next cocktail. Hell, make it a double.

When you have a hope, you are hoping for the best but you're not going to fall apart if you don't get what you want. People are going to do whatever it is that they want to do, and those things may not match up with what your plans are. So, hope; but don't expect. If you constantly have nothing but expectations, then you'll constantly be disappointed with everybody and everything. And you'll live in a world full of people who suck.

When you have faith, you have the knowledge that there is some bigger meaning to all of this and that there's a reason you're here, a reason you're given the challenges of everyday living in this modern world. You trust in yourself and your Higher Power enough to get you through the rough spots and you know that you'll receive guidance, whenever you need it, regarding how to handle the realities of this world. Faith keeps you going. But when you live in a fantasy world, you're divorced from reality. The biggest fantasy of most people is that they think they have (or should have) more control over situations or people than they do. The reality is, the only thing you'll ever have any control over is YOU. (The proof? Ever watch Survivor? Every last person who thinks he's in control of that game winds up being blindsided and kicked off the island.)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

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