On the subject of help

When you attempt to help someone or some organization, you are doing something quite adventurous!

Your intentions may be honorable and your actions may represent a sacrifice of time and money but the reactions you get from those you wish to help can be quite discouraging.

This should not deter you from trying to help, but it might give you pause if you realized how many barriers exist to effectively helping others. Some of these barriers can be circumvented by a little study of the situation. Other barriers are as solid as if set in stone and you will break your spirit trying to help people who are grimly holding these barriers in place.

Gaining some understanding of how help is viewed by a potential recipient will go a long way toward making your life happier and more fulfilling.

You want to help and wish to share your experience, money, support, and advice with aomeone else who appears to need it for any of the following reasons:

a. They are out of work
b. They have just suffered a crushing loss of some kind
c. They are just not doing well in life and you can see why
d. They experience one disaster after another
e. They are on a downward spiral because of drug use or alcohol abuse
f. Everything they try to accomplish seems to turn out badly for no apparent reason
g. They are in a relationship with someone you care for
h. They are hard working people who have fallen on hard times

These examples have to do with circumstances and these circumstances do not always correlate with the barriers that may be present and can prevent you from helping effectively.

Here are some barriers you can encounter:

  • A person or group must want help before you you can actually do anything for them. Otherwise, they will skillfully waste your help or worse blame you for making their situation worse.
  • The second point is that they must feel that the help you offer is acceptable to them and will help them achieve what they want to achieve. If you force help on someone, or "persuade" them to let you help, they will grudgingly take your help and will find ways to make less of it.
  • Even if you are providing help that the person or organization has specifically requested, you can run afoul of some very basic human traits and will be heavily criticised.

Let us say that your help involves doing things which bring about desirable changes like more income or an improved reputation. The person or organization can become very upset when these changes require changes in areas they did not expect to change.

For example: You arrange to get someone a job and they now grumble because they have to show up at work on time every day. Or: You reorganize a company to get more production and you find that management wanted you to improve things without making any changes that would affect them.

  • Furthermore, some people and organizations are very hard to help. They view offers of help with suspicion as they know they would never help anyone except to take advantage of the situation.

What to do:

Do not stop trying to help, just look at how effective you are at helping and how the help is being received. Is the help being acted upon? Is the situation changing as a result of your help? Do you keep giving the same advice over and over? Do you keep giving money with no results to show for it? Is the person or organization moving on up to helping others, or do they just keep on asking for more help?

As a side check, are you willing to accept help from others? Some people are stuck in a mode where they can only outflow help. This is not a good thing as people want to help you in return and if you refuse offers of help, they will find ways to make you uncomfortable.

Be willing to accept help and to give help when needed for situations you care about. If you are being forced to help, you might want to rethink things. Enforced help is destructive whether it is required of you or forced upon you.

There is an exchange that takes place when help is given correctly. If you help someone who needs your help, and they benefit from it, you get satisfaction from having changed someone's life for the better. If your help is resented or resisted, or possibly demanded, you will probably feel used or abused and your willingness to help evaporates.

Work on getting yourself into a frame of mind where you are free to help when it makes sense or to receive help when offered and you will find yourself creating new relationships with ease. Those of you who are already doing that know how much can be gained from freely helping others and receiving help in turn.

The best kind of help is a cheerful two-way flow which benefits both parties involved.

This entry was posted in Doing What You Love, Helping Others, Learning new skills and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to On the subject of help

  1. Stephan F- says:

    Sometimes you have to remember that they may know they need help and want help. They probably know the solution to their problem, but getting the help they need is often very difficult because everyone else has their own idea of what help is appropriate.

    Good post. Never give up.

  2. mattbg says:

    David, nice post and a very good point about receiving as well as giving help.

    I am not so good at accepting help, but I know that, since helping others makes me myself feel good, I am depriving someone else of the same feeling by refusing help all of the time.

    I guess you have to find a balance — you need your independence and confidence in your own capability as well.

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