As far back as I can remember I have always been taught to help others. As a child you learn that helping is a nice thing to do and you definitely want to be a nice person. I can remember images of the nice young man helping a little old lady cross the street with her bags. The little old ladies face was always so sweet and beamed with thankfulness. I knew right away that I definitely wanted to help people. What could be wrong with that? It turns out that being helpful can become far more complicated as you get older.
I myself suffered from excessive unhealthy helping. Un healthy helping is helping in a way that can potentially harm both you and the person you intend to help. If I cared for you in any way, all you needed to do was ask for my help. Sometimes you didn’t even have to ask if I seen a need, I met it! The problem with helping adults is that there’s usually a reason why they're in a position where they need assistance. Sometimes it’s a string of bad luck, and sometimes it’s because they are the bad luck. Let’s just face it people are flawed and we all have our own problems. Unfortunately, when it comes to helping, not many people are ready to be helped.
The word helping actually implies that a person is in the middle of doing something and you are offering them assistance. As a helper you can either be a Healthy Helper or an Unhealthy Helper. For example, I could offer to help someone move a chair. The ideal scenario would be that this someone is actually in the middle of lifting or at least headed in the direction of the chair with plans to lift it them self. In this scenario, I am being a Healthy Helper. I'm simply helping to make the load a bit lighter for someone else. The problem Unhealthy Helpers have is that they may offer to help move the chair just because they think it should be moved. They may also end up moving the chair themselves because that someone ONLY said, “I sure do need to move that chair”. The problem is, they never actually got up and head toward the direction of the chair. If you suffer from unhealthy helping here are 5 steps you can take on your journey to becoming a healthy helper.
Take care of yourself: Helping requires good health and energy. Giving of yourself expends extra energy. It may also require you to push your body and mind a little further than you're used to. If you don't take care of yourself by staying healthy and fit, and rested you will be no good to anyone.
Don’t be available 24/7: Healthy helpers set boundaries. You are in charge of letting people know where the lines are drawn. If you're helping someone and they are able to contact you 24 hours a day seven days a week you have officially become their God and have disabled their ability to use their own brains. Pick a time, shut your phones off and lock all windows and doors.
Say No: No is not a bad word it's actually the best word ever. No helps you to remain honest to yourself and others. You can't do everything, and you're also not going to want to do everything. No frees you and the person requesting help. Helping should be an action born in the heart not something done out of pure guilt.
Only help people that are doing something: Let's just get this straight! It’s okay to help someone that is clearly in desperate need but that’s called charity. If someone is not in desperate need of food, shelter, clothing, or money they need to be doing their part in the task that they are requesting assistance for. This "rule" will immediately rid your life of people you should NEVER help. These people prey on the kindness of helpers and they will suck you dry.
And finally Step 5)
Find at least one friend where the helping is mutual: Friends give the advantage not take advantage. If the giving and taking is not balanced in your friendship that is not your friend. A Healthy Helper needs at least one true friend. This friendship will allow you to be taken care of sometimes so that you're not always the one giving.
Helping is not a bad thing, you just have to do it in a healthy way. A Healthy helper is a Happy helper!