“The best way to clean up the world is to sweep your own front porch.”

Setting yourself aside and focusing all your efforts, “help” and worry on others in your life is a way to feel accomplished by cleaning up someone else’s life instead of your own.

Arduous feats of self-sacrifice can mean we go to bed each night feeling a sense of pride in all the wonderful things we have done for others that day.

In reality, you are hiding your own sense of failure behind fixing someone else’s. The attitude that you know what’s best for others is a subtle form of violence.

[Reminder: we’re focused on the 8 Limbs of Yoga per Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras and right now we are on the first limb, the Yama, and the first Yama–Ahimsa (non-violence).]

Non-violence requires us to trust the ability of others to discover their own answers and simply offer support along that path. It asks us to love and support others in their highest image of themselves, not our highest image of them.

You can’t save someone from themselves. All you can do is light the way with your example. Sweep your own front porch.

When we are handed a challenge to face, it’s an opportunity to learn from that challenge and grow stronger. If an overly helpful person comes along and tries to solve the challenge for us, our ability to learn from it has been greatly diminished. We’ve lost an opportunity.

Letting someone we love suffer through a challenge without “helping” them or solving it for them, simply supporting them, is hard. It’s tough love. But suffering, challenge and mistakes are what refines and defines us. It’s part of how we grow as human beings.

Worry is another way that violence gets masked as caring. Do you trust in your loved ones ability to do their best? Or do you constantly worry they will screw something up? Only you know what’s best for them…

Worry is a misuse of your imagination and your time. Worry is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy but gets you nowhere.

You can’t fix or save others. But you can listen to them. See them and hear them.

The Chrysalis Center for Battered Women in Minneapolis, MN has a motto: “Every woman has her own answer. Every woman has her own timing. Every woman has her own path.”

Do you approach your loved ones with worry? Or with love? Which would provide more space, more power, more support?

When you find love and self-acceptance, you find compassion and understanding for others.