How We Help Others
Have you ever stopped to wonder, why do I help others? Why do I help some people and not others? Why do I do some things for some people at sometimes, but don’t help in the same way every single time?
We have quirks in how we want to help others.
If someone is making an effort I’m much more likely to help than if someone is being lazy. If I’m in a great mood, I’ll jump right in. If I’m tired I’ll come up with a 20-point list as to why someone should do something themselves. I’m thinking about my kids in this sense. The debate on teaching them to be self-reliant, vs demonstrating a loving, caring attitude. There is no clear-cut answer.
Kid: “MOM!! I got a cup and can’t get the milk open, could you please help?”
Kid “MOM!! I’m thirsty!!!”
Mom: “Thanks for letting me know.” Mom continues to sit.
We don’t want to empower laziness but if someone is struggling, we want to step in and be the savior. Or if someone can benefit from our experience we would love to help in that way. But if they’re using us, we’re outta there!
We’ll help the first time the kindergartener needs help, but the second… for the same reason… that they can do themselves… we get annoyed more easily.
On the other hand, asking for help is opening yourself up for failure or criticism.
If the ask-ee says no, we’re let down and taught to rely on ourselves. If we hear no often enough we get the sense we’re not loved and shouldn’t bother others.
Time and time again, not asking for help has been the story of my life. No one wants to help little old me. No one cares about my problems. I’ll just do it myself. I’m sure there are plenty of situations where I could’ve benefited from someone’s wisdom, but was too proud to ask.
There’s a fine line between being self-reliant and failing to ask when you need help. I’m not great at knowing the difference and struggle with deciding on a regular basis.
The basic principle I use to help make decisions is, do the stuff I know I can do. Try the stuff I might be able to do, and ask for help if needed. Ask for help on the stuff I know I can’t do.
So, the next time your kid or someone asks you for help, check your reaction and ask yourself what is motivating your response?
Laziness? A desire for the other person to be self-reliant? A desire to help someone? Your initial instinct can tell you a lot about what’s going on with you personally. You might be in a great mood from another success or you might be ready for a nap.
Try to be more consistent, especially with your kids and they’ll be a lot less whiney. Grownups will love it too. If your answer is yes, then help as soon as you can. If your answer is no, kindly tell them in the most straightforward way.
Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Matthew 5:37.
Hemming and hawing creates confusion, which leads to whining in kids. An even more pro move is to always say yes or no for the same types of requests. In effect, they always get their own water from the fridge. Mom always makes toast for them.
Deciding ahead of time what automatically gets a yes versus a no will cut down on bargaining. And wouldn’t love less time bargaining with their kid? Or co-worker? Or _________
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