Do you find yourself caught giving advice in the spirit of helping someone avoid a collision you can see coming? Do you offer it when it hasn't been asked for? I have been caught in this trap more times than I want to admit. Being a parent can be tough job, especially when your children are doing things that don't line up with your way of thinking. They most times aren't asking for our advice but, we give it to them anyway. Sometimes it's the same way with money. We see them struggling and we have a hard time seeing it so we do something to try to ease their situation. This has been a difficult lesson for me and one I continue to struggle with. Every time I do it, I want to slap the back of my own head and ask myself what was I thinking? Old habits are hard to break and each time you think things are different and that now you can help. I promise you that will never be the case. When your children are struggling, whether it be financially or emotionally there is a reason for it and a lesson in it. If we keep stepping in to help the lesson just keeps repeating itself. We all hear the stories about tough love but, unless you have never had to do it you won’t be able to imagine how hard it is. I am sure they call it tough love more for us then they do them. I am writing this more for myself than for anyone else right now. I find myself becoming angry and upset that my advice is not valued and for not being taken. There is a sense of ease on the path, you know there are certain things that work and that is why people do them. You want the people you love to stay on that path so that you know that they too will be alright. For all of us who have taken the path that we know works, there seems to be someone in our life who chooses a different path. It is as though that even though it seems we are the teachers that they are teaching us something. Their lives may be harder because of their choices. There may come a time when they may even wish they had listened to our advice but, just the same, their choices, their lives, belong to them not us. I think I may have finally gotten my lesson, I think I may finally have repeated my pattern enough that I can finally let go of the reins. Stop trying to fix, stop trying to avoid, stop trying to make things easier, and just let them be. In the end you lose yourself, you become someone that you don’t want to be and worst of all the very people you are trying to help see you in a way opposite from what you really are. I think my lesson is to be free, finally free, and to give myself permission to live my life for myself for the very first time.