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Stinking Monkeys




When I met Richard, he was known for his generosity and easygoing nature, which drew people to him. Friends, friends of friends, acquaintances—all found solace in his advice and willingness to help. Each problem he solved for them was like taking their monkey off their back and putting it on a leash. It felt helpful to assist, and he was always ready to stay connected, just in case. As time passed, others saw his ability to take on their problems.


Bob was trying to buy a car, and Jon shared his financial woes. Eager to assist, Richard found himself with two monkeys on a leash. But as the cycle continued, he held so many monkeys on a leash that they tangled and tripped him as he moved down life's highway. He had a huge trench coat, and the monkeys enjoyed riding inside his coat rather than being on a leash. His coat of problems grew. What once started as a helpful gesture soon became a weight too heavy to bear alone.


Each problem he accepted added to the collection of monkeys in his coat—unpaid bills, broken hearts, shattered dreams. Once a vessel of aid, the coat became an unbearable burden. It sagged with the weight of others' troubles, radiating a putrid stench that mirrored the weight of their sorrows.


Despite the overwhelming load, Richard never turned away from anyone seeking help. People praised his resilience, unaware of the strain he carried. But even the most caring heart has its limits.


Richard's life became like his coat of stinking monkeys. As he sought assistance for his miserable condition, he finally began to see his bulging coat, its shape distorted by the monkeys within. With a heavy heart, he realized he couldn't take on more. The stench of accumulated burdens became unbearable, suffocating his peace of mind.


Contrary to his original thoughts, “They can't do this without me”; he began to release the monkeys individually. Each monkey scampered away into the night, carrying the burden it represented. As they departed, the coat lightened until it hung limp, relieved of the weight it once bore.


Richard's shoulders began to feel lighter, understanding that while helping others was noble, carrying everyone's burdens wasn't sustainable. It was a lesson that to help others, he needed to protect his well-being first, then allow them to become independent.


Can this be considered as “enabling?"


How about you? Are you carrying other people's stinking monkeys?


Watch for the blind spots.




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