Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Are We Really Helping Others?

Hi! I am oficially back, with a post I didn't write today. This was written a week ago, and was saved as a draft in my Gmail, since I wasn't blogging. But I think today is a good day to post it, since last night I had a chance to think about all this again, as a result of something that happened. Really, there are no coincidences...

I used to have this notion that I was somehow people's savior, that I had to show them the way... or so I wished. I used to be beyond compassionate, always thinking of others, always trying to help people feel better about themselves or a situation, always making an extra effort to make sure others smiled... Sounds selfless, huh? Well, it was the opposite, really. I did it to play a role that I believed to be me. I did it because I thought I was some sort of Mother Teresa, because I thought I was this caring and giving person, but in reality it was to hold up my image, thinking I was somehow in a higher position to help others and bring them up. Please... they say ignorance is bliss... but ignorance is suffering.

Of course, those selfish attempts failed because I cannot pull anyone up really. I can offer support and love and a hand, yes, but the other person has to do their own standing up and climbing. And the other has to want to. He who does not want to be helped will simply not be helped. Remember how Jesus cured people? He said your faith has healed you, not my abilities. I had to learn this the hard way.

Seeing how all these people chose and chose again to slip and fall deeper and deeper really discouraged me. You see, as I walked to stand on the edge of cliffs and made all this effort to pull people and people and people up, at least so they could see how the top looked again, their weight started to get heavier. I started getting frustrated because I wasn't being enough help, and what started happening was that they got so heavy that they started pulling me down, of course. Misery loves company. And obviously, I wasn't strong enough. That's why they say you should help yourself first, and when you are strong enough, then you can help others. So that made me face me... since I had sunk below where I had been standing too. And I asked myself if it was really worth going through all that trouble. If I really had the capacity and strength to continue pulling others seemingly against their will to what I thought was a better place. Also, did I really have the right to...? I can't decide for other people. I can't determine whether they should choose to stand in a different place. I cannot tell or expect them to climb. (And was it really climbing?) To say it more simply: I cannot attempt to live other people's lives.

So that frustration brought about by my ignorant approach to helping ended up being one of my most important teachers. I realized how I wasn't really giving... I was taking.. I was pushing people to fulfill my view, not their goals. I was posing to play a role I gave myself. That was the first part of it, this admission of my real intentions. And then I began to learn what giving is.

Real giving has nothing to do with upholding your importance or looking to receive a desired result. You simply offer, freely, knowing that what you give might or might not be accepted, might or might not be praised. And it's still OK. You give that, because it is what you have to share, but you do not perceive yourself as above or below anyone, you love and respect others just the same. And, oh about respect... when giving is unconditional and from the heart, you respect another's wishes and choices. You do not intend to manipulate and convince the other to do what you'd like for them, but you, in your offering, allow them to decide whether or not they choose to like that approach and if they will apply it or not. You learn the difference between giving advice that you expect to be followed, and giving simply suggestions. And you know that the best way to help others is by helping yourself first. So, likewise, an effort must be made in knowing that even though others may suggest, you are the one who chooses for yourself. And have enough self respect to not have others manipulate you either. If you wish to help, you don't wish to be hurt and damaged, right? So don't let it get to a point where it does. (Love yourself, so you can love others.)

So, realizing this, I took some time off for self investment and I have come to see that just by growing and learning and nurturing me, I might be helping more than I ever have, and there's no struggle or deception or attached-to-the-result expectation. And now I am much stronger if I am to support, and aware enough to desist from playing savior. I am also less dragged in undesired directions by others' actions or choices, and more respectful too.


Wow, reading this now, I can see other things... we tend to do this when we care or "care" about others... of course, no one has to agree with me.... still, that makes me think of the previous post... when is our giving based on love, and when is it based on attachment?

4 comments:

annush said...

"If I really had the capacity and strength to continue pulling others seemingly against their will to what I thought was a better place. Also, did I really have the right to...? I can't decide for other people. I can't determine whether they should choose to stand in a different place. I cannot tell or expect them to climb. (And was it really climbing?) To say it more simply: I cannot attempt to live other people's lives."

It's a good thing you came to this conclusion...like i told you once before a long time ago, one man's floor is another man's ceiling and your perception of a higher place isn't necesarily other people's.

It will make you a better friend and person to do what you need to do for yourself so you can be in a better position to give your support to those who will appreciate it.

Overall though, I thought that was your best post yet. Quite insightful :)

Chelle said...

nush- mighty true that is! now, in the words of someone i know u love: you live, you learn! hahaha

it's funny that you said that too cus sometimes what might be a good thing for one person could represent regression for another.

that's why we shouldn't compare ourselves. we're all going to see a piece of the truth, none of us should fight thinking we've got the ultimate of it going on. it all depends on where we're standing.

thanks for the compliment! :)

yami said...

hay una historia , aver si la sabes...
un maestro en la orilla de un rio-- ayudando a salvar un alacran que se ahogaba... el alacran lo picaba y volvia hacia el agua... el maestro insistia en salvar el alacran que tambien insistia en picarlo y volver hacia el agua...cuando un observante le pregunto, porque presiste en salvarlo, dijo... 'esa es su naturaleza y el no la renuncia. Mi naturaleza es ayudarlo, y yo tampoco la renuncio a ella"....
aaaaaa.........
beautiful isn't it?

Chelle said...

yams- siii, conocia esa parabola...

es verdad, you can only be you, what you have in you, your nature.

beautiful indeed! thanks for reminding me of it!