About helping others… the good, the bad, and the ugly
I have been feeling real weird this last month and I didn't know why was it until today. I have just got conscious about the feeling that I am experience because of some kind of resolutions that I did to myself months ago: “I decided to stop helping people”. Well, you will see, that sounds like I am some kind of jerk, no caring about others besides me, but thats is not entirely true. You know, for many years (maybe since 15 to 20 years ago) I have been a Mr Nice guy, real great in helping others, in many different ways of issues, sometimes they just needed an ear to be listened, sometimes they needed and advice, and sometimes they needed to me to do things. This kind of help was over around many kind of topics: love, money, family, drugs, health among many other things. Of course I am not a specialist in all this topics, but when this person came to me with a problem, I was real good understanding him and putting the issues in good perspective, and if I did not know about something, I am good finding out the info so it makes clearer to me. I am good in putting things clear, so I could go from giving some basic advice to get to the bottom of the problem. What a talent! I could say…
Anyhow, one great piece of advice that I want to give you is this. It might sound pretty obvious, nevertheless, some people does not apply it to their lives. Maybe because of the feeling that they should be some kind of good Samaritan to earn the heaven, they don´t know when and how to say “NO”. If you are going to help, you must be in a good position to help, that means you must have fixed and controlled your own personal problems first, you don't have to be damaged in love, broke in personal financial or not healthy. And then you have to be really above that kind of problems, otherwise, if you are screwed with that same problems, you would be overwhelmed and will sunk in to the same issue that are suffering your peer and now yourself.
So, lately I stopped helping people, the reason why? I am going to explain it making an analysis on three different points of view and then you can make your own conclusion if I am some kind of selfish *sshole.
Helping my peers and people who I consider friends, feels real good for myself. It is like we have been made human beings not only for satisfy and develope our lives necessities, but to sum and add value to others by living in communities and developing so many things, such as technology for the sake of our specie since the first stone hammers, and caring for our families and tribes. It is just in our main program loaded inside our human brains since ever, and it goes further more than our psychology, it goes through our biology. So, I am not such an authority in biology, psychology or that topics, I am an extremely practical and pragmatic being who has got aware of this behaviors, and for me, that makes obvious the Why we are pleased to help our beloved and close people. So I could assume then, or deduct something like, why religion´s teachings encourage to help your neighbor, and then you will be granted with the eternal life (or something similar in other religions, besides the Christians), by the way, I am not an atheist. (I am opened to be attacked about what I am writing)
Whatever, helping people feels great, not because it should be or it suppose to be, it just feel great. Taking the pain out of others gives some kind of joy to our selfs, and the more people we help and the more we love them the more pleased we are with our helping acts. (i.e. helping our family and closest friends feels way better than helping any stranger)
There is also a opportunity to develop an advantage for our selfs about helping others, but that is more like a business thing, and since it would extend this short text, I will leave it for another time.
It is more than obvious that when you help someone or a group of people, you gonna see diminish your resources as a person. With resources I mean that you have to put in time, effort, money, brain work for the emotions, energy and more depending on the task you will do for your peer. That means you will have less resources to go for what you want. And please don´t be a cynical, you want things in life, for you or for your beloved ones!, materialistic, lovely, spiritual,academic, whatever! but you want things, and of course you will need those resources to get that things. The human being is a selfish being by its own nature! So, excluding a good deal in business, the fact that you are helping, means that you have less for yourself.
So why we bother in still aiding people? Lets put this in two opposite sites:
Imagine a life when all the things you do are exclusively for you, absolutely for you and no one else, and nobody cares in this life but only you. For some, maybe it looks a lot of fun at the beginning, but could you keep that way of life in the long term? While you are not insane or you don´t have an issue inside your brain, living in a selfish mode for the rest of your life wouldn't sound like a happy, peaceful or a life of joy, actually it sounds more like a loneliness ending.
In the other hand, what happens if we sacrifices our own lives by living for others? draining our 100% of our resources, time, energy, brain work, and more? Sure there are some examples in live of people who gave absolutely everything and work their lives just focusing on the care and sake of the others. Madre Teresa of Calcuta is an example, the way she lived for the others was an extraordinary and romantic way of love. But as you may know, she was 1 in thousands of millions of people, so this situation is not usual for anybody at all. Well, living 100% for others, if you ask me, does not sound like a fulfilled live in the long term, because you need this kind of “good taste” of live, the life you want to live must have some “joy” and “discover new things” and “inner and outer peace” and “achieving goals”, that is the kind of life you would love to live, having beautiful experiences and emotions, so giving all your resources for others does not fit for me.
What do I do then? Same as always, I need to cop with this matter in a practical way. Thats why I choose to live the 50%/50% rule: that means 50% of my resources for others and 50% for me. It is simple, it is practical, If you apply that, you can start immediately. And then, if you are not agree with that proportion, you can adjust 40%-60% or 60%-40% and more… Up to you.
And last, but not least, the ugly thing about helping others. And for me this is a real injury for the ones who help others. I can particularly talk for hours about this. While I was helping someone, I have experienced been tricked, cheated, stolen in many ways: assets, time and effort, money, brain work, emotions, energy and more. When I pointing to the ugly part, I meaning this friend or partner that steels your money, the girlfriend that stabs you in the back, and of course the son of a bitch that wants to take advantage of you. I am talking about this friend that you help but he does not value that, and takes your help as if it was for granted. The ugly part is the absolutely opposite side of the coin and its the risk that you must be aware when you aid your neighbor. When you are real committed in helping someone, this is the part that hearts most. When someone you care then fails to you or commits treason. And what happened with all the effort you put on him, on your friend on your beloved one?, what happened with all the brain work, and these resources? Well the answer is sad, but it is the fastest answer, everything goes to the waste. All the energy spent goes directly to the trash. Yeah, you could say: “it is part of what life teaches us”, but it actually sucks, you suffer the consequences, your resources have been diminished. I do not looking to sound dramatic about this.
So this is what happened to me lately, I would not say that I helped the wrong people, because I also have many people who received and use my help in a very smart way and they are really thankful. I think more that, in the whole package of people you help, it comes the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY. So, in my personal live, now I am copping with the consequences at this time of my life. So why I decided to stop helping people? Because my resources are run out already. Too bad, but I am not in a good position of help anymore for a while.
If you want to be practical in this matter, this is my advice, whenever you are not sure if you should help or not… just ask this 4 questions:
- Does he needs?
- Does he deserve your help?
- Is he asking you for help?
- Are you in a good position to help him?
For me, this now how I am able to avoid ungrateful people and more…
PS: let me apologize for my grammar and sentences construction. I am not a native English speaker.