It is great that there are so many people out there who want to help others. Considering everyone who is out for themselves, it almost seems rare, but I know a lot of you are out there. I’m one of them. Helping someone out is a great feeling. It doesn’t even have to be about getting something in return. What drives me to help others is that I saw they were struggling before I showed up and they’re doing much better after. It’s not to say the person was “worthless” without me, but I lent a hand when a hand was needed. I’ve been there before. MANY times. There’s no better feeling than when someone shows up right on time it seems, to lend a hand.
However, sometimes helping others can be a bit much. There’s really no standard “limit” to how much we should help other people, but the limit comes into play when we feel we’re helping others out more than we are helping ourselves.
Nothing wrong with putting others before ourselves, but we need to understand the committment that comes with that. What I believe hurts us the most is when we reach that point when we start expecting the favor to be returned. It may not necessarily be how we feel in the beginning, but eventually, I feel that those of us who are like this start to feel we would like someone to show us a little of the same every now and then.
When you offer to help someone, that is YOUR choice. A commendable choice, but still…YOUR choice. Therefore, you have to be ready for everything that comes with that.
Something else we have to understand is that as cold as this seems, NO ONE is obligated to return the favor when we help them out. Yes, it seems “wrong” if people don’t, but there’s nothing to say they have to. Now we also have to get that not everyone has rotten intentions. Some may truly not care about returning the favor as others may very much want to and cannot for some reason. It’s not up to us to dictate which is which, because again, the desire to help comes from US, no matter who these people are.
This is why it’s important to learn how to balance the two. People often feel we have to “choose” between taking care of ourselves and taking care of others. We don’t. It’s all about balance. Both can still happen.
However, we should always put ourselves first. This isn’t a selfish or conceited thing, but we can’t give anyone our best when WE are not our best. When you choose to help others, you are essentially sacrificing yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that, but understand what that truly means.
You do not have to choose between helping yourself and another person. That seems to be the notion largely shared by those who have reached that “breaking point” when it comes to helping others and not personally having much to show for it. You’ll either drop all these “hints” that people “need to start returning the favor,” or you’ll fish for sympathy by stating things like, “I’m done helping people. It’s time to take care of ME.”
It is ALWAYS time to take care of YOU. You come first. However, you don’t have to change who you are in order to take care of yourself. Goodness knows that wanting to help others is DEFINITELY a personality trait that shouldn’t be dropped, since it doesn’t seem to happen much as it is. So you don’t need to change that part of yourself.
To make this happen, you have to first understand who is worth your help and who isn’t. That’s not being judgmental. You simply cannot help everyone. It’s impossible. So you have to choose. However, you don’t need to choose ONLY those who will give something back, even though that’s what sounds more attractive to us…nah. Help those who will allow you feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. I help people all the time who I know can’t give me much in return, but it’s the nature of those people who allow me to feel that fulfillment. It’s that person who borrows money and puts it to the proper use. It doesn’t hurt as much that they don’t pay back right away because you see what’s going on.
Then it could be that person who heeds your good advice. That’s mostly with me. People have the right to listen or NOT listen, but we all know that person who will constantly ask your advice just to do the opposite. That’s a little something I call wasting your time. I get much more fulfillment when a person asks for my help and actually uses it. Especially when they ask more than once. That sounds contradictory to what I just said, but I’m not talking or two times. I mean when it seems like you have to start telling them to do the opposite of what you’re thinking because that will get them to do what you feel they should. In that case, I don’t expect favors to be returned because I realize I’m better at giving advice than some people.
I can give a ton more examples, but the bottom line is that you can’t say YES to everyone, but that doesn’t mean the answer has to be NO. If helping others makes you feel good, KEEP doing it. Just take your time and learn just how much help you should give, along with making sure that you TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. Don’t help someone until you have nothing left. If you’re building a house and you spend all your time giving your supplies to everyone else in the neighborhood, you’ll run out of supplies for yourself.
Feel free to lend a hand helping others to build. Just make sure you always have the supplies to build your own “house.”