Outcomes and Results

Providing advice and support to another person, does NOT give us permission to control them.  In social work, one of the biggest causes of burn-out is needing assistance given to generate predictable outcomes.  Accepting advice and support doesn’t put anyone else in charge of us.  Change actually is the only constant, but remains otherwise unpredictable.  Personal change doesn’t happen at anyone’s pace but our own.

I’ve been disappointed when the advice I’ve given isn’t acted upon or the results didn’t match expectations.  I’ve expanded my advice and tweaked the process or results.  I’ve thrown up my hands and disengaged.  But an action and a person are not the same thing.   And relationships are seldom quid pro quo (a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something).  So the questions I try to answer are:  Why am I doing this and what are my expectations?  Is this something I’d still do even without those expectations?  In the end, I gave up even those questions.

The question that I ask now is:  Do my actions match the kind of person I am or want to be?  If the answer is yes, then the result is less important.  I act or I don’t act and that action doesn’t depend on being assured of all outcomes.  I’m a pragmatist:  “There is no absolute truth or perfect answer.  There is only the best possible action under an existing set of circumstances.”  And, that action might be different for someone else.

What do you think?

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