Over the holidays I treated myself to a lobster dinner. It reminded me of a lobster I encountered many years ago.
Back then, I had a lobster for dinner whose outer shell was so tough and hardened from the winter that we had to get a hammer to crack it open in order to extract the delicious meat.
We must have wrestled with that lobster for 20-30 minutes before we were rewarded with the tasty meal of tender seafood inside.
Maybe you’ve experienced something or someone like this before. You may have even dined with them over the holidays. Usually it shows up as stubbornness.
You know what I mean.
Someone you know is experiencing certain challenges, maybe with their career, their money, their unhealthy habits, their relationships, or worse, all of these at the same time.
These people complain and blame their way through their circumstances, hoping things will change.
It’s like they keep planting seeds in cement and watering those seeds with their tears hoping things will change.
“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
You’ve tried to help, but the person resists change. It’s drained you emotionally, physically, and perhaps financially, too.
This can go on for years or even decades.
Eventually the stubborn person’s outer shell becomes as hard as a lobster’s shell in winter. Only you can’t take a hammer to this person’s shell.
They won’t change, until the ground begins to shift. A job is lost. Bankruptcy nears. A health matter manifests. A relationship changes.
Finally, the cement begins to crack. The light slips through the cracks and things begin to look differently. Action is necessary to heal.
These green shoots of growth are like weeds popping to life through the cracks of a cement sidewalk.
They begin to open to your support and start seeing the resources that have been there all along. But it has to come from the inside out, not the other way around.
It’s hard to resist cracking the armor for them. It’s frustrating, for sure. But it’s their journey to unfold in their own time.
In the meantime, all you can do is enjoy your life, mind your own business, and resist rescuing someone whose journey is unfolding on its own timetable.
You’ll care for your own emotional, physical, and financial well being along the way. Maybe you’ll even reflect on where you might be acting stubbornly in your own life.
What you can do is love them unconditionally. Just don’t lose yourself in the process of their unfolding.
Or else your own suit of armor may start to take shape!