It is so tempting to try and save each other– whether in a romantic relationship, friendship, coaching relationship. When you care deeply for someone, and they lose site of themselves through an unhealthy relationship, depression, or addiction, etc. you want to help! And that is what true friends do, we help each other remember who we really are. But where is the line between healthy care and overextending yourself for your own reasons? As a coach and someone who desires personal and global transformation, I have to be aware of the shadow side of that desire–seeking to save others as a way of avoiding my own work, or craving to be the reason someone else experiences breakthrough. I believe everyone engaged in the personal growth and therapeutic fields need to be aware of this in their personal and professional relationships. It is natural for this shadow to exist, and not shameful. But it is has to be acknowledged so that it does not get control of our underlying motivations.

Here is a poem about these themes:


Transforming You


I wish I could break the torturing spell that’s on you–

say the perfect words

that would clear it all up,

help you see your reality

and take down this grimy, confusing filter

you see the world through.


The lies you believe–

about the struggle

about your worthlessness

about there being no hope–

I want to tear those slowly off of you like paper mache

and then hold your shivering soft body safe in my warmth.


If you’d let me

everything could change

and I’d feel so happy

and full of my own power and glory and wisdom

and it would be amazing

me saving you,

it really would.


But when I try and feed you my carefully crafted cure

you lash out at me

with your self-hatred

and I’m left in a pool of my own positive intentions


missing that rush of a breakthrough I crave.


So tempting to keep working harder–

refining my words

purifying my heart

designing a more elaborate and compelling exorcism

that would once and for all

transform you in an ecstatic moment of release.


But I’m done with that game–

here’s me wanting to love you

and be loved–

take it or leave it

it is not my job to save or fix you

mine is the only breakthrough I command.


In Shadow Work, we focus on allowing the shadow parts of us to have a safe space to act out and express themselves. If you are a coach or therapist, I recommend joining a group with me or others to explore the shadow part of you that needs to save others and feel heroic. It can be a fun and dramatic experience, where you can see these patterns and ultimately laugh at yourself and feel sympathy for that desire. Wanting to be a hero in someone’s life is certainly better than wanting to be a villain! But the truth is we don’t save anyone else. We only reflect back their own power and love and help facilitate their process. This is the true gift we offer our friends, loved ones, and clients.

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One Response to It is Not My Job to Save You

  1. Daphne says:

    I agree, Helena. I notice that saving and helping can be the helper’s addiction – hidden in plain sight! In addition to desiring to be a hero, I perceive (and I was just thinking of this this morning, in fact) that helper types can rely upon being helpful/useful to maintain a feeling of being in control and/or carrying authority. As a helper type, I take notice of how it feels to be the one “being helped” as a gauge of my balance in this regard. Thank you for this timely reminder.

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