Do you enjoy advising people? Often, people come to us for advice when they need help. But sometimes, it’s not just the people who need advice, but we as well. We want to help them because we want to feel important and powerful by helping them take care of their lives. Is this something that happens with you? Do people really need your help, or is it that you like to believe that they need you? Believing that you are needed is a great ego trap. You feel good when someone depends upon you. The feeling of power that comes with having someone ask for your advice can make you feel powerful. It feels good when someone says that you are important in their life. When we begin to enjoy giving suggestions and advice to people about their lives, we begin feeling that we are in control. We start living out hypothetical situations without any responsibility or repercussions when people follow our advice. This can be more dangerous than any psychedelic drug that gives you a high, and the feeling of power and invincibility. You might begin to believe that people cannot live their lives without your guidance. Sometimes, you might even believe that you need to watch over people, so that they do not end up making mistakes. At times, you might start questioning their decisions and tell them to stop doing whatever they are doing, and follow your orders.

This can spiral out of control and get really dangerous. You could begin playing god and end up losing your mind. There is a psychiatric disorder called megalomania. People who suffer from this type of delusion begin to believe that they are god. You begin believing that you are essential to the running of the world and without you, nothing can function at all. However, most of us realise that there is a line, beyond which we should not intervene in other people’s lives. We may give advice once in a while, and help people in case they ask for our advice. But if we begin to enjoy doing this, we might start losing our own balance. One should not interfere in people’s lives beyond a point. At times, clingy and insecure people will turn up in your life, asking for your help. However, they are not really seeking your assistance.

They are just wasting time. They aren’t ever going to follow your advice. They come to you because they have time to fill and nothing better to do. They are there only to boost their own fragile ego. They feel that an important person like you is giving them valuable time, and to them, it means that they are important. You taking their calls, or sitting with them, filled with concern, giving them advice implies that they are worthy. It gives them a high. Infants and plants need protection when they are very small. They need to be cared for. As they grow older, you need to let them grow on their own. Children will fall, get up, fall again and get up once again. Eventually, they will learn to walk on their own. Very small saplings can be eaten by cattle. So, we keep them in greenhouses or protected enclosures. But once they become trees, they can fend for themselves. You need to learn to let the child and the plant grow. Don’t be a crutch for them all their lives. Too much protection and advice will make them incapable of dealing with the world. Save yourself from clingers and people who waste your time.

They are simply going around in circles. Neither will you get any fruitful work done, nor are they going to benefit from your advice. It is better to let them learn their lessons by falling, hurting themselves and getting up on their own. Show them tough love by ignoring their constant distress calls when there is no real emergency. If you constantly keep helping people out of misplaced love and compassion, they are never going to learn to walk on their own. 

Deepam Chatterjee is the author of The Millennial Yogi. He can be contacted on [email protected]

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