A friend of this page named Katie sent this quote to me yesterday, and it struck me so hard, it made me catch my breath for a moment.

Indeed, try as we might (try as I HAVE) you cannot carry somebody to the mountaintop without their own assistance or participation.

I am particularly guilty of attempting to do this at times (OK, many times) and it has always ended in tears and resentment — and usually ends in a destroyed relationship.

Or, as another wise friend of mine has been trying to remind me for years, "You cannot put another person on their path for them. You can love them. You can encourage them. You can open some doors for them. You can even point the way. But eventually people have to get on their own paths by themselves."

These are hard words to believe sometimes, when all you want to do is help someone, and to usher her forward in life. But you must examine your motives very carefully as you set out to reconstruct or rescue an adult human. Be careful of your own arrogance, grandiosity, and self-righteousness, even if they are disguised as charitable impulses. (I am speaking to myself here, as much as to you all.)

To try to carry someone singlehandedly into a new life implies that you know what's best for that person…when in fact, very likely, you do not. You cannot. What's more, it is not your place to fully solve her life on her behalf; that duty (and its rewards) belong to her and to her alone. Or to him. Or to them. Or to us.

Love the people you love. Love them with all your heart. Love them like a hurricane. Help them in reasonable ways. But give them credit for their own power — however they may use it. And let them walk their own journey. Otherwise, their lives will never be their own…

And don't you dare miss your own mountaintop because you're dragging along an unwilling passenger!


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall