I don’t know where this crazy desire for helping others comes. Maybe from the books I read when I was a teenager, maybe from me wanting to make a change somehow, make a difference wherever I am.
But is it good TO HELP OTHERS?
Someone once said don’t help others unless you are asked to do it. I never thought about it much because in my mind, helping is a good thing and a sign of kindness and compassion. What I didn’t realise until recently is just how much truth was in those words I heard such a long time ago.
People don’t care how kind you are. They don’t put a price on your compassion. Unfortunately, they just take you for granted not once thinking maybe how much it costs you to offer that help. And I am not talking money, obviously. I am thinking something far more precious than that: YOUR TIME; YOUR ENERGY, A PIECE OF YOUR HEART and your MENTAL HEALTH.
Getting to a stage in life when I am trying to see things from a more pragmatic point of view, I couldn’t help but wonder how much have I lost by offering unwanted help. Every time I heard of someone in trouble (close friends or only acquaintances) I was drown to them like honey to a beehive. I had to do something. I couldn’t sleep properly and tormented myself thinking things could get worse if I don’t help. I imagined worst case scenarios and how guilty I would feel if I would just let things follow their natural course and not interfere. Every so often, offering a hand took me places I didn’t want to ever visit again, reminded me of painful moments I wanted to forget and brought back anxiety and depression.
I never once thought about how much harm I was doing to myself. I was second place every time someone needed help and when all went back to normal I found myself a bit more damaged and there was never anyone to pick up my broken pieces and put them together. I suffered in silence, the thought of asking back for help never crossing my mind. I took time to heal from other’s sufferings.
SO STRANGE HOW EVERYONE TENDS TO DISAPPEAR WHEN YOU NEED HELP
Just like every single person in this world, I found myself in difficult situations, some worse than others. The thing is I tried to deal with everything by myself not wanting to bother anyone. I was strong. I was capable. I could handle it. I could survive it all because I was me and I was always there for everyone.
But you see, sometimes even the strongest need help without asking for it.
Going back to my original question: IS IT BAD TO HELP OTHERS WITHOUT BEING ASKED FOR HELP?
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. —Sam Levenson
However, it all depends on who you are offering your help to. If people don’t care about you, you shouldn’t help them. We all know not everything is good and not every bad thing is bad. There is good in bad and the other way around.
People who never took the time of day to ask how are you or if you are feeling OK even knowing you are going through difficult times should never be on your help list. This doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t take away the kindness in your soul. It just spares you of later suffering and precious time wasted.
Before offering your help you should ask yourself: DOES THIS MAKE ME HAPPY? IS HELPING THIS PERSON A BURDEN FOR ME? If the answer is yes to any of these questions you should just walk away and mind your own business. People won’t love you more or less for this.
I remember a friend going through a very hard time and asking me some difficult questions. I didn’t feel comfortable answering and brought back so much pain in my life. It never occurred to her that there are things you just don’t ask and I never thought of speaking my mind. I only saw the opportunity to help. I was there for her for few months and when everything turned out to fine I never heard from her. It left empty and sad. It brought back my anxiety and turned me into a ticking bomb. Anyone cared? NO.
Being faced with the exact situation now I did not jump at the first question. I took a step back and thought that maybe I should just close my eyes, breath and live my life like I don’t know anything about her. It plays in my mind and think about her and hope she is fine but in the same time, my words or advice cannot change her life and don’t bring anything good to me. On the contrary.
So, now, I stop and think: IS IT OK TO HELP PEOPLE ? Before I do it I only need to remember few things:
The first person you need to help is YOURSELF.
If helping people makes you unhappy, don’t do it.
Sometimes you have to be selfish and put yourself before anyone else. Just stop helping people who don’t appreciate your help.
There are situations when people are not ready to hear certain things or advice. You end up losing friends by offering help or advice that is unwanted. It creates drama, makes you anxious and you end up wasting precious time you could have filled with amazing things that might have brought you happiness instead of stress
Take a step back. Ask yourself if the help you are offering is wanted, appreciated and worth your time. Ask yourself if by any chance you are doing more harm than good by giving a hand. (I found myself in so many situations when I wanted to help but messed up so badly and regret it to the day)
“Stop giving the best part of you to those unworthy of that gift.”