I was brought up well by my parents. I was kind and responsive, and I thought it was right to give help and support to everyone at all times. However, over time I began to notice that people did not appreciate it, and my advice was increasingly simply ignored.
I had banned myself from doing anything for others, but nothing good came from this hatred. Eventually I would let go, and I would start writing again.
Sometimes I received words of gratitude, warm feedback, and that gave me peace of mind for a while. But the question continued to worry me: Why don’t people take the help that is so generously and freely given out?
It would seem that you can eat, so why don’t you, huh? I’m trying for you, you bastard. To make you happy and successful. And then I realized everything.
Why people don’t accept help to solve their problems?
Five years ago, I participated in a seminar that included an opportunity to get answers to my questions of concern. To do this, I had to fill out a questionnaire and send it to the master.
I was promised an answer and recommendations for life.
I filled out the questionnaire and waited. I waited and waited, but got no answer. I was filled with rage and indignation: how could I have been so deceived?
I shared my thoughts with a man who had been to many seminars of this master. He told me: “Julia, there is no request for help in your voice.”
I was surprised, “What do you mean, no?”
He answered me something like, “You are your own question. You need to be in a state of asking, not getting an answer.”
I didn’t immediately understand what that meant. But if it was heard by someone who had just attended the seminars, the master must have understood.
After fretting a little more, I accepted it as the truth. Something inside me told me that it was true.
After a while it was really hard for me, and at that moment I understood what a true request for help was. I wrote to the master, asked my question, and he answered me.
I realized then that as long as one is not ready to hear the answer, as long as one is not hungry for help, one can never take it in full measure.
Any help would be like food in an overflowing stomach. Something might go in, but basically, you have to be prepared to make the person vomit.
I want to tell you two parables.
А dog on a nail
One day a man was walking past a house and saw an old woman in a rocking chair. Next to her, an old man was rocking in an armchair, reading a newspaper, and between them on the porch lay a dog, whimpering as if in pain. Passing by, the man wondered why the dog was whining.
The next day he was walking past the house again. He saw an elderly couple in rocking chairs and a dog lying between them, making the same pitiful sound. The puzzled man promised himself that if the dog continued to whine tomorrow, he would ask the elderly couple about it. On the third day, to his misfortune, he saw the same scene: the old lady was rocking in her chair, the old man was reading the newspaper, and the dog was whining in its place. He couldn’t take it anymore.
– Excuse me, ma’am,” he turned to the old lady.
– What happened to your dog?
– Her? – she asked again. – She’s lying on a nail.
Confused by her answer the man asked:
– If she’s lying on the nail and in pain, why doesn’t she just stand up?
The old woman smiled and said in a friendly, affectionate voice:
– So, little dove, she’s hurt enough to whimper, but not enough to move out of her seat.
Аbout a teacher and a student
The disciple came to the teacher for advice. He wanted to know how he could know the wisdom of life. In response to this question, the teacher took the disciple and lowered his head into a bucket of water. He held him there until the disciple began to pull away.
When the student asked what it was, the teacher replied, “How badly did you want air when you were there?” The student replied that he wanted it very much. It was the only thing he could think of.
And the teacher said: “When you want to know the wisdom of life the way you wanted to breathe air now, you will know it.”
The truths I were discovered
1. People very often don’t need help
They are in enough pain to whine about it, but not enough to do anything about it. They surf the Internet for tips and ideas, absorb tons of information every day, consume everything from rose quotes to philosophical musings on happiness and life. But they don’t have a keen desire to actually solve their problem.
Yes, we always have some problems. But they turn out to be tolerable and don’t make our lives so difficult that we get up off the nail and think only about how to find a solution.
Sometimes the most effective advice turns out to be very uncomfortable to follow. For example, take responsibility for your life only for yourself and stop shifting the blame to those around you.
Why is it so hard, I’d rather find something easier. For example, how to boost a woman’s energy by shopping. Simple, effective, joyful.
Thinking about life, doing some exercises – that’s not good… I need it to be quick and unstressful.
It’s better to anesthetize than to operate. It’s better to put a Band-Aid on than to do a lavage.
2. By forcing help, you deprive people of autonomy and choice and prevent them from taking responsibility for their lives
Everyone has to make help their own personal choice. There are those who constantly hint that they need help. Yet they are not willing to do anything for themselves.
If you have an inner need to help, you rush to the rescue. But since you don’t need help, but only attention, sooner or later you start saying something like, “Why are you meddling in my life, I didn’t ask you for anything, I did what you said, and look how terrible everything is now, it’s all your fault…”.
Such people don’t know how to be adults and don’t know how to ask for help. It seems to them that it is beneath their dignity. Therefore they will do everything so that others will offer this help.
Because in this case you can easily refuse, rebuff, make an arrogant face and say, “You solved everything for me here, and I didn’t need it. And in general, I did not ask for anything.
The position of the victim of circumstance and the unthinking is very insidious. And very manipulative. It has a lot of power and authority. Much more than meets the eye.
To illustrate the principle of non-interference, I remembered again a parable. This time it was about a man who wanted to help a butterfly get out of its cocoon. He saw how difficult it was for the butterfly to get out of the cocoon, so he cut it open with a knife.
When the butterfly was in the light, her wings were not capable of flying. They would have been if she had been able to get through the cocoon on her own and gain strength through effort. And so she was left with underdeveloped wings and never learned to fly.
To make them comfortable is to make them weaker. If they need help, let them learn to ask for it.
There is nothing noble about being above asking for help. It’s some kind of narcissistic construct, and it certainly shouldn’t be something very lofty and holy.
3. People benefit a lot more by not solving their problems
This is called a secondary benefit.
Whatever difficult situation a person is in, if he does nothing to get out of it, it means that he has some secondary benefit: not to grow, not to change, to receive bonuses, to remain infantile, etc.
There are hundreds of stories about sick people who don’t get well just because they stop getting attention when they are healthy. To the point where families are preserved solely for as long as someone is sick. After all, you can’t abandon a sick person. And the sick person is happy to try – to be sick.
When you come to this person with a sincere motive to help him get better, you receive sabotage and aggression in response.
He doesn’t need to be cured. He needs to stay sick.
4. Every person has their own way, their own karma, everyone gets exactly as much as they have earned through their actions
When I wish someone help, I think they need it to relieve their condition. But how do I know his whole destiny task? How can I decide for God (the universe, the soul) that this is what is needed for this or that person?
Everyone has their own way. And I know that many of my conclusions and wisdom (if you can call it that) came to me only because I sat in my sadness until I had sorted things out for myself.
It was only when I had had enough of it that the strength to sort it out came to me. It’s also called “pushing back from the bottom”.
5. Each person has different neuroses, values and attitudes
If a Vedic woman begins to be helped by a success specialist, conflict will occur. Although each of them is sure that their path is right and correct.
So before offering help, it’s a good idea to understand: won’t it conflict with what is already there. And also to accept that the other person’s vision of life may be very different from yours.
All of these truths are true for the vast majority of people. And I’m the same way. There are issues that cry out for a solution, then I give it my full attention. And then there are issues that hang in the background. Of course, it’s nice to have them resolved somehow. I won’t be particularly strenuous to solve them myself.
Today I’m glad that at that seminar the master didn’t play along with my manipulative game: “Make me feel good, and it’s like I’m not involved.
If I need her help, I ask for it. It wasn’t easy at first, but now I’m much more comfortable saying directly what’s needed. I expect the same from others.
I’ve decided for myself that I will only help if someone asks me to. And not in half-sentences, saying, “Oh, my head hurts,” in the hope that I myself will rush to find out what is wrong, but specifically, “Have pity on me, support me, comfort me,” and so on.
You have to learn to be aware of your needs and to be able to voice your requests. I no longer guess or try to guess. I ask, “How exactly can I help you?” and I don’t play “Guess what I’m offended by”.
The second side of helping people
If there are those who are helped, then there are those who help. And it depends on them in this situation just as much as it does on those who are asking.
When I “help,” I make the assumption that the other person REALLY needs my help. Most importantly, I think I know WHAT they need. But that’s far from it.
Recently, a kind person wanted to “help” me by trying to make me a better person. But to me, it was not help, but a hit. So I replied that I would decide for myself if I wanted to be better or not.
What motives drive the “helpers”?
Far from always pure and bright.
1. Suppose the helper sincerely believes that he knows what is best for the other. Sometimes this is true, and sometimes it is not. Before offering something better, it is good to know: is the other ready for that better? Often they are not. Why not? See the first five points.
2. The helper is trying to assert himself at the expense of the other, to satisfy his own needs. This kind of help is especially painful. It either comes through criticism wrapped in a wrapping of care: “You’re a terrible cook. I’m telling you this so that you come to your senses and become a better hostess. Or through passive aggression: “You don’t look good. Let me give you the number of my beautician?”. Or through self-interest: “I want to help you discover your femininity, so you have to sleep with me.
3. The helper wants to raise his own importance to himself and to others. Such people feel very, very noble, bringing light, knowledge, and joy to others.
Unfortunately, this often happens to members of the helping professions – coaches, coaches, psychologists.
They get stuck in their professional identity and feel alive only as long as they are helping.
In their posts on social networks they constantly talk about how happy they are to live and help people, that their work is the best, that there is no greater joy than waking up in the morning and coming up with another program to lead dark humanity to a brighter future.
It’s cool at first time. It’s invigorating and makes you look so klaaasnippy, and it makes the world look bright and smiling. Plus, it feels like once you’ve been given a great tool that you know how to use, you should try to fix everyone with it. Otherwise, why did you learn?
I was the same way.
When I began studying Gestalt therapy, I was very high on the possibilities that opened up in front of me. I went around telling everyone that I needed to live as consciously and sincerely as possible, that I needed to understand everything about myself, to dig into my projections and introjects, to unfold retroflection, etc.
It is good that life did not give me the opportunity to rest on the laurels of this knowledge.
If I had had hundreds of followers at that point, the crown would have been permanently attached to my skull, and I would not have had a chance to see anything different from my chosen point of view.
Instead, I was confronted with misunderstanding and rejection, and I was furious that these fools didn’t understand anything.
I rushed to help, but it turned out that nobody needed it. I had to experience a lot of unpleasant emotions. I experienced a truly Mkhatovian passion, sobbed sincerely, and swore never to tell anyone anything else. To invent a cure for all diseases, to tell them I had it, and to go to the mountains with it. And wait.
Waiting for all those losers to come crawling back to me, begging to share their wisdom. And I’ll come down and give them a little.
I hid these thoughts from myself for a long time. Until I realized that I was not alone. That there were a lot of helpers out there with this problem. They suffer just as much from not being loved, not being accepted, not being appreciated, not being carried in their arms.
When people help, they do it for themselves foremost.
I realized that I needed external recognition because I didn’t feel important to myself. Helping others made me feel like I was still in shape.
It took me a long time to find a way out of this trap. I realized that helping others was not about being holy, chosen, or special at all, nor was it about being recognized by others, which no longer affected my sense of self.
It’s easy to live when you change other people’s lives. It’s hard to live an ordinary, mundane life without thanksgiving and worship.
This is why the first thing the helper has to deal with is these questions:
- Who are you without your help to others?
- What will happen to you if you have no one left who needs your help, your bright thoughts?
Self-irony is very good at working with holiness and the crown. As soon as I start to feel that a star is coming, I bring myself back to reality. Now I don’t help anyone.
Training and therapy is my job. But now I don’t expect everyone to want it or to appreciate it.
It gives me freedom, I’m no longer a hostage to my own expectations. As they say, “Don’t wake those who are asleep, help those who are awake.
Everyone makes their own choice: to help or not to help, to ask for help or not to ask for help. The main thing is to be as honest with ourselves as possible.
If you are a helper, ask yourself questions:
- Why are you helping?
- Who are you helping?
If you are the kind of person who needs help, ask yourself:
- Are you ready to ask for help?
- Are you ready to accept help?
No one can be helped by force, no one can be saved without his knowledge. Each person goes his own way.
If he finds someone or something useful along the way, he will choose to be around for a while. Then he will continue on his way again.
If you want to help, then offer, but don’t insist.