23 September 2011

Being Helpful

Everybody needs help.  Sometimes it’s hard to remind myself of this fact when I’m surrounded by people who seem to have everything together, who seem to be completely self-sufficient, who seem to need no help at all.  Other people can put on masks that make it almost impossible to know truly what they’re feeling, which makes us think sometimes that they don’t need our help.

But help doesn’t always have to be deep and intense.  It doesn’t have to be major aid.  It can be something as simple as carrying a bag of groceries, or volunteering to babysit for an evening, or even getting up to get someone else’s coffee for them.

The most important thing about being helpful is developing the habit of being helpful.  It should come as second nature to us, and be something that we don’t have to think long and hard about.

That said, though, the second most important thing about being helpful is knowing when our help would be more destructive than constructive, knowing when our help would be more about enabling than anything else.

I want to be a helpful person, but I shy away from it sometimes, convincing myself that a person doesn’t want or need my help.  I’m much better at it than I used to be, and I’m able now to offer my help much more often than I used to.  Someday, I hope that I’m able to offer my help freely without worrying whether others will accept it or not, but I’m not there yet.  I do know that as I’m able to help more people, I feel more fulfilled with my life, and I see my personal gifts being put to greater use than they ever have been before.

You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have
earned your money, unless you have done something for
someone who will never be able to repay you.

Ruth Smeltzer

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