The one positive trait these challenging times have highlighted is so many people are coming forward to help others who find themselves in dismal circumstances. Families from all walks of life, who only seven months ago, would have never dreamed they would be facing such difficult hurdles and challenges, find themselves in desperate conditions. This pandemic has caused millions to reevaluate priorities, and what really matters in this life.
A “wakeup call” of sorts is nothing new. Most of us endure these kinds of difficulties several times throughout our lives. What’s different in this moment is the magnitude of scale it has inflicted itself on so many in such a short amount of time. The call for help at a worldwide scale is unprecedented perhaps in the history of mankind.
Help, like love, is comprehended and appreciated in various ways and differs widely in cultural and generational understandings. It can be given, taken, refused, or abused. Examining how you view this universal expression may shed light into the depths of your awareness and meaning.
Accepting help for some is often associated with a negative connotation. It’s as though a grave, social stigma was attached to it thousands of years ago and is only now beginning to abandon that difficult reputation. Much of that can be attributed (at least in Western Culture) to the idea of being a self-made individual as a signature of success. Requiring someone’s aid translates falsely into not having the “smarts” to figure it out or worse yet, the moral compunction to conquer the dilemma on your own.
Embarrassment has also prevented many from asking or receiving needed help which put them and their loved ones in a grimmer spot. Even when others insist on helping them, a fear they will be perceived as a letdown or failure overpowers any urge persuading them to accept a helping hand.
The feelings of shame play a major role in not accepting assistance. Adding to the confusion is the idea one is too proud to beg for any help. While it’s important to bear in mind your current situation, declining help under the guise of pride can be disingenuous and hurt many unsuspecting people. When someone kindly makes this generous gesture and it’s refused, it can negatively impact the one offering it as well.
How can the simple act of helping also be a restorative gesture? As someone whose mission is to guide others on their journeys of emotional healing, I applaud that it’s become a frequent focus for many. However, what is neglected is the explanation of how it is healing. Understanding why it is so will also encourage more of this much needed behavior.
Healing, from a physical standpoint, is reducing or minimizing all signs of the original injury. Needing help from someone can feel as though it is a wound which we no longer want to suffer. By accepting help, it can alleviate any worry or anxiety of the condition becoming worse, allowing person(s) to feel better and lift their confidence and self-esteem. This positive attitude is the healing - lessening or removing signs of the previous stressful situation.
It can also be healing for the person giving the assistance, sparking a change in the way they view themselves. These moments don’t need to be momentous. There are many times we have insignificant abrasions on our skin which heal without our recollection. However, if some of the smallest of cuts never do heal, it could eventually result in an untimely disaster.
For many, it is easier to give help than to accept it. I wish this were a universal truth. Imagine what a different world we would be experiencing if it were overloaded with heartfelt help.
We know how great if feels to be given unanticipated support. Suppose that were occurring on a daily basis or even several times a day. It would promote kindness and spread goodwill faster than the present-day Coronavirus.
Help does require discretion in certain cases. We may have a tendency to give help to our own detriment. There are numerous reasons why this occurs, even if the person only has the best of intentions for doing it.
A frequent example of this is when a parent is willing to help their child to the point where it becomes enabling and not forcing them to face their own challenges. The last thing in the world any caring parent wants is to hurt their child, but we’ve all heard stories where this has happened. It is not an easy position for any parent, and sometimes requires intervention from outside sources.
Help in one situation may be the right move however, in similar circumstance, yield opposite results. What’s important is to remember our objective was to enhance the situation and not allow anyone to struggle or become a victim of the adversity they were currently experiencing.
When it comes to giving help, the one thing we have little or no control over is what the person does after receiving it. If they choose to neglect or abuse it, that was not our original purpose and reminding ourselves of the original intention will enable us not feel shame or other negative perceptions for doing a good deed. Demeaning ourselves for showing kindness will likely stifle us from future opportunities of positive behaviors.
What we can control are our intentions and objectives behind the act of providing help. This is easier to maintain when we do not expect a certain outcome or something in return for our actions.
For those who genuinely feel poorly or “wrong” for accepting aid, a good way to overcome this attitude is to pay it back or better yet, pay it forward. Repaying it by offering others help perpetuates the cycle of healing and encourages others to follow suit.
Help is both an act and an action which is why if there is ever any uncertainty about whether it should be provided, I will try do my best to error on the side of offering it. That is what I choose to do for my part in creating a better world which will continue to exist long after memories of me have faded.
My thanks to Kirill Petropavlov on Unsplash for the wonderful picture. If this article was helpful to you, please like it. If there is someone you know who may benefit from it, please feel free to share it with them. These weekly articles are my help to you, and I would be honored if you were to share in it with me.