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Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Do you ever feel weary when caring for others? Imagine a long line of people waiting to meet with you, each carrying a rock – some with pebbles and others lugging boulders.

Out of compassion for their heavy load, to each one you say, “I'll carry that for you,” as you take their rock and place it in your bucket.

I thought this was noble until someone confronted me with the truth. See, I used to carry the pain and needs of the world on my shoulders, continually feeling sad to the point that I dreaded meeting someone carrying yet another rock. I feared my bucket was absolutely full and I might break under the weight.

“That’s not your pain,” my mentor shared, “it's not your boulder to carry.” What?! I can be happy even while others are sad? I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders as I learned how to walk in joy and peace in my personal life so that when grieving with others I could offer them my strength. The key is to feel their pain when present with them but not take it with you when you leave.

Sometimes the heaviest burdens people carry are from unhealthy beliefs about themselves, others or the world. Perceived reality brings very real pain and this is the most difficult for me to not try and pull others out of. I have felt incredible angst walking alongside friends struggling with shame, suicidal ideation and hopelessness desperate for their breakthrough.

You will always be surrounded by others in need and how you respond to these needs will impact the quality of your life. When other people’s pain is not your responsibility, there is no need to control the timeline of their healing journey. In compassion and love you are equipped to walk alongside people long as it takes, holding out hope for change.

In peace, let us choose to believe that people will make it through, and they will seek help when they are ready. I kindly invite you to let people to own their own process and to stay in support mode, keeping it in their hands.

If you would like any coaching around this topic, I will support you as you decide how you want to make this a practical reality for you. May you walk in freedom and peace.

Kara Brackebusch

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