A few years ago, I met a young couple who seemed madly in love. Somewhere in the conversation, the man made an interesting statement: 'I'm an indulgent husband. I want my wife to have an easy life."
He gave the group of people listening a few examples of why he considered himself an indulgent husband. Apparently, his wife was scared to learn driving - so he drove her wherever she needed to go. She hated doing the finances, so he looked into that side of things. As a relatively new migrant, she was terrified of speaking with the locals. So he encouraged her to mingle only with other migrants from her native country, so she wouldn't feel homesick.
A year later, he went overseas for work. Alone.
And the young wife he had so lovingly protected stayed back, completely helpless. She had to ask her friends to drop her to different places, had no clue how to manage simple banking tasks and struggled to get along with local colleagues in her new job.
The point I'm trying to make is that when we love someone, we must also look out for how we can make them stronger. How we can coax them out of their comfort zones so they don't go through life so afraid. How we can encourage them to flutter their wings so they can find out how high they can fly.
If someone you love is not tapping into their potential because they're filled with self-doubt, let them know gently that it's worth a try. And that you'll be right by their side, cheering them on. And that if they stumble and fall, you'll reach out and pick them up in the blink of an eye.
Sometimes, all we need is for someone to smile at us and say: 'You can do it.'