Lots of people enjoy helping. It makes us feel seen. It feels good to be needed. We enjoy receiving praise for our help. The drawbacks of being a helper are that there can be a lack of healthy self-care, boundary creation, and enforcement. There are so many people who say they love and enjoy helping, and yet they are burnt out.
We have to examine where our desire to help is coming from. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide whether or not to offer help:
Is your help coming from a genuine desire and love of being helpful, or is it about how you want to be perceived by others?
How do you feel after you help?
Do you feel obligated to help?
When we are offering support and feeling constantly and continuously drained, we have to take a step back and think about what those feelings are trying to tell us. Sometimes exhaustion and burnout are indications that we are doing things we don’t want to do, not making the best use of our gifts, or helping in a way that is beyond our capacity.
It is ok to let someone else help sometimes. It doesn’t always have to be you. You don’t have to help when you can’t. If you have a flat tire, there is nothing wrong with you fixing yours first, before going to help someone else with theirs. As long as you have that flat tire, you are not in the position to help. I’ve often seen folks helping others, when they don’t need to be helping anyone but themselves. We have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.
People often assume that because I am a therapist, I must always be helping people, but mostly, I am listening and facilitating. I might regurgitate something the person has said, but I’m not doing the heavy lifting for people. I’m a helper in the sense that I give people the tools, but I don’t do the work for them. I can’t. That is their work to do.
We have to reimagine our relationship with supporting others so that it is helpful for them while still being healthy for us.
When do you offer help?
What makes you feel helpful?
When do you ask for help?
Janet Jackson. I’m so happy she told her own story. I love when people speak from their perspective about their life. This was amazing. You can watch the documentary on Lifetime.
Twenties. This show was created by Lena Waithe and is in its second season. I love a good friendship based drama. It’s a really great show about women in the entertainment industry in California. You can watch it on BET.
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