Sometimes it’s easier to enable someone than to encourage him/her to grow in a particular area. Per WikiHow, an enabler helps someone achieve an end. Reading the definition makes me think an enabler is a positive influence in someone’s life. However, if you’re enabling someone by reinforcing bad habits (ie. buying them cigarettes), encouraging destructive thoughts (ie. agreeing or saying nothing when someone says they’re ugly), doing things for them, etc., then you are not being a positive influence. Daniel and I both know that he enables me. 😉 On a not-so-serious aspect of my development, he enables me by always doing things for me that my height does not allow me to do with convenience. For example, if something is out of reach and I need a step stool to retrieve it, I will complain to Daniel and he will come by and get it for me. As he is doing so, he says, “I am enabling you. You should just get the step stool and do it yourself. What if I weren’t here?” And it’s true, when he’s not around, I have no problem getting the items myself. So interestingly, I am allowing myself to be enabled! Not good. Another example is when I don’t want to use my handywoman skills or physical strength. Instead of doing it myself, again, with a few pouts, Daniel enables me by completing the task for me. And again, he says the same sentence as mentioned earlier. And again, I allow myself to be enabled. See the trend? I have found this pattern and phenomenon to be very interesting. Both parties typically know they are either the enabler or the enabled. So when you go to help someone, ask yourself some of the following questions: Am I encouraging their growth? Are they learning something new? Have they took part in the majority of the process? Will this help them when the same scenario happens in the future? If you answer yes, then you are not enabling someone. If you answer no, then in some way you are an enabler.
Figure out which one role you play with particular people and in certain situations. I encourage you to help others grow versus enabling them, which stunts their growth. (I know, I need to stop having Daniel enable me ;))