Why is it that the aid given to some poor African countries only managed to plunge them deeper into poverty? What if I told you the money you gave to charity was only used to grant the charity owner an exotic vacation? The truth is that help is not always helpful.
Sometimes you actually do more harm than good when you extend your helping hand. Still, there are people in the world who genuinely need our help. So how do you know when to extend your helping hand and when to keep it in your pocket?
Sometimes it’s okay to let people work their way out of their problems. Our struggles make us stronger. They bring out our creativity, our resilience, our ability to claim independence. And so sometimes when we help people out for their struggles without giving them an opportunity to put up a fight, we prevent them from being empowered by their problems. Our help can make it more difficult for the people to avoid falling into the same problems in future, because they haven’t learned the necessary lessons.
But then of course there are times when people are plunged into situations where they cannot possibly make it without your help. They need you to extend that hand or things will end tragically for them. Then, look for faith. Those who deserve your help believe that change is possible and that with your help, they can gain independence some time in the future. They have hope. They make an effort to help themselves. So maybe that friend who wants to use your loan to prepare for a job interview or to start a small business, deserves it more than the one who just wants to drag on for one more month.
In general, people should have a desire to be independent, just like babies always have the desire to walk on their own. It should not be easy for one individual to put him or herself at your mercy. If someone asking for your help wants to be independent, they would show remorse at having to ask for your charity. Unless of course, they have come take your help for granted. They have come to believe that you must help them and that they deserve your help. They have become dependent on you. Maybe you should think twice about helping people who seem to have no qualms about constantly coming to you for help.
Then there are situations where help is more about our self-esteems. Some people may have the gumption to play on our feelings in order to get us to help them. They may elaborate how extremely bad their situation is and how bad of a person you would be if you don’t help them. Don’t let people manipulate your feelings. Think carefully before helping anyone who tries to guilt you to helping them.
And sometimes even without people playing on our feelings, we may get into the habit of helping others just to feel better about ourselves. But we know help can be destructive. Help can sometimes harm the receiver. Make sure you help because you think your help will actually benefit the person, and not because you want a boost for your self-esteem.
And as always, cheers to life!
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