It’s a strange question to ask, but over the last several weeks of requesting help during the 90 Days to My Dream Job blogging challenge I’ve been forced to ponder the answer. Most of us believe that the more we help others the better the person we become. But what does it mean to truly help someone and could we do a better job of it?
We give weak attempts at assisting others all the time (if we even decide to do it in the first place). When we lug trash bags full of unwanted items to a local donation site we proudly think, look how generous I am, giving away all this free stuff. But we rarely make the effort to get to know the recipients of the goods. We’re just glad to be unburdened of the stuff and be on our way.
We rarely give our all when helping family members, friends, and colleagues—much less strangers from our community. I know this is true because I am both guilty of it and been the recipient of this quasi help.
After much thought, I came to three primary reasons why we hesitate to provide life-changing help:
We worry that our help will go unrecognized and therefore wasted. – We like to believe we only help others for selfless reasons. It’s all about giving with no expectation of getting anything in return, right?
But it’s hard to deny the thrill of dropping a dollar in a homeless person’s cup and hearing the effusive thank you’s likely to come after. We’d be downright annoyed if the homeless person didn’t express any sign of gratitude in response to our generosity. “How rude!” we’d comment and most would agree with us.
But whenever we give our time and energy with the purest of intentions and without expecting anything in return we are actively working to create a more peaceful society for everyone. Our help therefore never goes wasted.
We inherently know that making a positive impact on the life of another takes hard work. – It’s so much easier to write a check, to donate things, or write a quick email response that reads ‘Let me see what I can do’ and not follow through.
But putting in the time and energy to help others is the surest way to create a meaningful life. Some of us feel that we don’t have enough money or power to do this work, but those things aren’t what often make our help have a lasting and profound effect on others. Author Matthew Kelly writes, ‘If we would just learn to recognize people’s needs and pain, there are so many prayers that God wants to use us to answer.’ We already possess the power to transform the lives of others even at their most desperate times. This is what we were meant to do!
We only want to help those we judge as ‘truly deserving.’ – If and when we genuinely go out of our way to help someone you better believe we really, really like that person. Even though in theory we say every person matters and it’s important to put aside our differences we still make subjective distinctions between those that are ‘good’ and those that are ‘bad.’
This last reason is the most insidious because it implies that many people in need go without help. I understand why it happens: if putting in the time and effort to help someone you like is hard work then helping someone you dislike is almost impossible to do! Yet those people are likely the ones in most need of our help.
During this 90 Days to My Dream Job blogging challenge I feel as though I’m constantly asking for help and making little effort to provide help to others. This weighs heavily on me, but by understanding why I hesitate to help has inspired me to shift my thinking.
I hope it helped you do the same.
My name is Viola Minicozzi and I’m a HR professional looking to land my dream job in Phoenix, AZ. From December 1, 2015 through March 1, 2016, I’ve committed to blogging everyday on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter about my progress and a host of other career related topics along the way.
Join me on the journey. #90DaysToMyDreamJob
Viola. Vi. Vivi.