The Tao Te Ching: Verse Seventeen

The highest rulers, people do not know they have them
The next level, people love them and praise them
The next level, people fear them
The next level, people despise them
If the rulers’ trust is insufficient
Have no trust in them

Proceeding calmly, valuing their words
Task accomplished, matter settled
The people all say, “We did it naturally”

                                                                                                    Lao Tzu

When compassionate leadership, guidance or support is offered to another the intended outcome should be to empower the other person, not fix something for them. Shifting from fixing to empowerment helps the professional or family caregiver to let go of a responsibility that was never yours. It sends the message that the person you are trying to assist is already whole and capable and that you, as the caregiver; are there to support them as they stand up but you are not there to hold them up.

No matter how well intentioned your motives are when you enable dependence rather than responsibility and accountability; you will doom the relationship to be filled with overt or hidden resentment toward you. This is a fact that we must accept at the beginning of the relationship not learn at the end when we are resentful and confused over what went wrong.

Caregivers must relentlessly work to stay in touch with their intrinsic motives. No degree of education or experience gives us the ability to really know what is best for another. All we are really capable of doing is presenting the risks, benefits and possible alternatives to various choices. Then, it is time to step back and let the other person exercise their Right to make their own decision.

When you are able to offer your heart felt self unconditionally and find peace in the decision made with faith and trust that the individual is indeed walking their Path; you will have reached a higher level of the true caring experience then you have ever reached before.



One thought on “The Tao Te Ching: Verse Seventeen

  1. Well said. Nurses always carry other peoples problems like a backpack of honor. True honor is teaching the person how to carry their own back pack. This includes children as well.

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