Pearls and swines

. 2 min read

I listened to a part of a lecture by Jordan Peterson last night. He was talking about how to help people with difficulties. The answer, of course, is you don't; you simply cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped. You can only lead by example - by setting your own affairs in order.

Then he quoted Bible and said, "Don't cast pearls before swine."

He - and me as well - interprets this statement as "stop wasting your helping effort on someone who is ignorant enough not to appreciate it." Does this strike a chord inside you? Do you know someone who likes to complain about their situation, yet doesn't want to fix it either? Have you tried to help someone - knowing your advice is pure gold - yet they disregarded it completely, and instead continued whining?

I bet you have. I have, too.

The best and most ironic part of this all is that the person with difficulties perhaps has once reached out for your help. And you gave it to them, straight and simply. But they weren't ready to hear it. They weren't ready to accept the fact that they actually need to do the things you're telling them to do in order to fix their problems. They were expecting an easy, overnight solution that required to effort from their part, and since your advice didn't check those boxes, they came to the conclusion that your advice sucks.

All awhile the problem was with them; their unreadiness to make a change; their unwillingness to make an effort. They weren't ready.

They didn't want it bad enough. Having the problem - and identifying with it - was so much easier than making the change.

Peterson said that you may need to cut ties even with family members if they are the swines and your pearls aren't good enough for them. They might have their hands around your neck as they drown, and you bloody well should let them drown on their own and cast your pearls before someone who actually wants them.

And I agree. Because I've done this. I've cut ties with family members to let them drown alone. I pop back occasionally to see if they've found ground to stand on. And if they haven't? Or if they have, yet are moving towards the water again? I don't hesitate to leave again. I have no responsibility to go down with them.

Neither do you.

Don't cast pearls if you're not asked to - and if you do end up casting them before someone who turns out to be a swine, leave. Take your effort, time, and advice elsewhere. You're more valuable than that.