Are you the kind of person who is continually helping others only to be left feeling unappreciated or worse still, rejected?
Elderly or infirm friends and relatives who refuse help can leave you feeling embarrassed when they insist on carrying the shopping, weeding the garden etc. Whereas we understand the importance of maintaining independence there are times when it can be foolhardy. It can even be selfish if other people are left feeling awkward when offering help with the best of intentions. I accept offers of help now and hopefully won't be cranky about it in my old age!
If people ask for our help we tend to give it but have you noticed how help and advice can still backfire? There are many reasons. The one to avoid is giving advice where you might open yourself to rejection. Marital situations and our children's relationships with their partners are a case in point. So many times we might utter words that are thrown back at us when people reconcile- very tricky. People can sometimes ask for help as an avoidance technique. This help will not be appreciated, it will be expected and taken for granted; encouraging laziness of mind or body. If you do your children's homework how will they learn and who will get the blame if errors are made? Not the child whose homework it is that's for sure. Helping children too much financially isn't a good idea either. Most of them require some help however they need to learn to contribute and understand the true cost of living and how to juggle money. It is a society of credit cards but financial responsibility also needs to be mastered.
Now on to the big one. Emotional assistance. Your friend has problems and it's upsetting to see, so you really want to help them straighten themselves out and reach a better place. Great objective; the problem is you are not them. Firstly, why do you want to do this? Does their condition make you feel uncomfortable? Do you want more from them than they can offer- if only I could help her get a better job so we could go on holiday etc. Sometimes it is good to identify your desire to help. Some people are constantly down or facing one bad situation after the next.This lifestyle has become their default setting and there are people who would be unable to cope if all was well and they no longer need attention.Subconsciously people might be afraid of losing that type of attention and do not know how they would interact if all was well. If all is good in your world others may regard you as a bit of a do-gooder and then they will resent you.
One of the underlying causes of resentment that is less obvious is, by helping find solutions for people we actually strip them of their power. Does the man in the picture need an umbrella or might he benefit from a good soaking to get back in touch with himself? You see, too much protection shades us from our true feelings and ability to tune into ourselves. Sometimes we just need space to work it all out. The solution you come up with might seem obvious to you however you do not know the processes and learning points another person requires on their journey. We all see things differently and if someone is constantly coming up with solutions it may feel more like conflict, especially if they have very different opinions. For example, a risk taker might want to give up their job and go to university whereas a 'safe minded' advisor might think it a bad idea. If the risk taker requires courage to follow the plan they have decided upon, presenting the safe option may create unnecessary internal conflict.
When you help someone through a difficult time and then they reject you this can be very hurtful. It might be that they don't want to be reminded of their weaker side or having you around becomes a constant reminder of that period which they haven't completely put to rest. If people ask for our help and reject our suggestions that is healthy. It is a rejection of the suggestion and not of you. If you feel rejected then you have an issue to deal with as it has created some insecurity. If you need to be needed, you clearly need to invest more in yourself- more love, more care, more time tending to your needs. Being over helpful and pleasing others continually is not a healthy way to be and detracts from a balanced lifestyle.
Next time you are about to offer help consider:
- Have I been asked for my opinion
- How often do I help this person
- Will my help really benefit them
- Am I the best person to help or can I recommend another source
- Am I doing this to satisfy my own needs
- If things go wrong will it backfire on me
- What degree of help can I afford to give
- Will giving help strengthen or weaken this person
Helping people at the right time and to the right degree is a necessary part of all our lives and to be commended, but there are times people need to find their own solutions in order to grow and feel good about themselves. Instead of rushing in, relax and decide upon the best course of action.
Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org