no, you can’t help those who don’t want to help themselves

Usually when people ask how I’m doing, the real answer is I’m doing shitty, but I can’t say I’m doing shitty because I don’t even have a good reason to be doing shitty. So if I say, “I’m doing shitty,” then they say, “Why? What’s wrong?” And I have to be like, “I don’t know, all of it?” So instead, when people ask how I’m doing, I usually say, “I am doing so great.”

Bojack Horseman, S5E6

Sometimes I’m good at instinctively knowing what people want, but it’s not always that simple to delve into a person’s true self. More often I find out by talking to them, by listening to them, by spending years with them. I like doing this for people. It makes me feel like I have a purpose, like a practical guardian angel. No, I cannot tell your future or bless immortality– but I can show you how to find happiness. Not everyone can do that for themselves, much less a fellow human being.

Sometimes the person is thankful for my ability to sense what they need, beyond what they even tell me. But knowing that I do listen to what they explictly say they want, as well. And it’s this wonderful feeling to know I’ve helped them achieve their hopes and dreams, as cheesy as that may sound.

But sometimes it happens that, for whatever reason, they don’t want what I have to offer them. Even though I’m only offering them something they want, that will make them happy and safe and anything else they desire. It doesn’t change my life for the better; I already have what I want in life. And I want them to have the same for themselves.

It’s not always a wanted gift.

Sure, I hurt when the person rejects the gift. But it especially hurts when give someone exactly what they said they want, and it turns out the person doesn’t want to be happy after all. That they’re disappointed for me to prove that what they want is possible. Because they’d prefer to be the victim (as if the lesson they learned from victims in society is that it’s somehow desirable to be a victim).

Sometimes they don’t believe they deserve happiness. Sometimes they don’t, as it turns out, want to put in the effort to make it happen. Sometimes they even prefer unhappiness, because at least then they have something to blame for their problems.

Sometimes, no matter the good intentions, the person doesn’t want to believe happiness is possible for them.

And I am trying, you see, to be okay with this. When all I want for them to be as happy as I am, as fulfilled. Because why shouldn’t they have the same happiness, if it’s possible?

It’s not as if happiness and contentment is a possibility for everyone, you know. What some people need (want) to be happy isn’t always possible in this world, or the next. I don’t know what to do to make the world perfect for them, because it’s never been that way for me. Never that hard, but never that easy.

It’s only sometimes, you see, that I can visualize a path for a person, one that works, one that is bound to work.

When what they want is, like me, fairly easy to gain. Or rather what they need, and specifically what they need to be happy. I mean, yes, what I want is rather incredible, but that’s not what I need to be happy. And when I can see someone else like me, whose dreams are perfectly attainable, I want that for them.

Even the ones that don’t want it from themselves. And, so, I’ll find myself talking to this person for whom I care deeply. Who no matter what I say or do or offer, never seems to get anywhere closer to their own, personal happiness. I say, “How are you doing?” Because I know that they’re not interested in anything else but simple pleasantries.

And they tell me, “I am doing so great,” and I nod in reply, as if I believe them.

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