Help Me Not

Pic By vtdainfo flickr user


Some furious people got in touch with me to let me know how much they disagreed with my post. After conversing with some of them, it turns out they actually agree with the points I make, but were thrown off by my *cocky* tone. So here are the points in a more humble version:

1. I am suggesting that sometimes there might be a reason why someone might have a problem, and this reason is lack of flexibility in the approach to solving it.
2. I am noting to myself: I should probably stop helping people that have not asked me explicitly for help, since I might be doing the opposite of helping.
3. I am noting to myself: I should probably think about problems in which I am on the side of the inflexible thinker.

I also learned something very important from one of the comments – The fact that someone shares their problem with you DOES NOT necessarily mean they want help. They might be just venting out, or they might just not be ready to tackle it.

I have this incredibly strong urge to help people. Occasionally I see a friend who has serious troubles. And I am not talking about a temporary problem, but a generally flawed area in their life such as, “I never have any money” or “I don’t have any friends really” or “I have always wanted to do X but I don’t know how…”

Sometimes, when I feel I am doing much better in an area they are complaining about, I try to explain what I have done to get where I am. I give tips, I even sometimes go as far as trying to draw a step-by-step plan for them. Usually those are simple things, but need time and consistency. Sometimes they just need to be reminded of a fact or be turned in the right direction so they can get the “aha!” moment.

I have noticed though there is a certain type of character that is impervious to such help. Sometimes they argue and fight back, defending their vision. Other times they say, “Yes, totally, of course!” and then go on doing the same old thing. Helping both of those types is like pouring water into a leaky bucket. You pour all your heart in them, and give them all the possible help, and you just see how it goes wasted. Naturally, you then try to fix the bucket before you continue, but that itself turns out to be another endeavor of pouring water in a leaky bucket.

3 different friends have been really bothering me, because I just can’t seem to find a way to penetrate the shield that keeps them from improving. And the most important thing I realize is that it is no random occurrence that they have this major long term issue. It is just the outcome that has been fed through the years exactly by this inflexibility to listen to others, to take new points of view, to give up on their wrong beliefs, and to change strategies in life, when it hasn’t work out till the moment.

And so:
1) I give up trying to help those people for the sake of my peace and theirs. At least until they start their own process of taking down the shield.
2) It’s now time that I myself think of things in my life that have been going wrong, and think of what I have been told over time again and again…

Good *luck* to all of us.

10 Replies to “Help Me Not”

  1. people don’t need to be fixed.
    they need to be understood, accepted and loved.

  2. Ah yes, people who won’t take yes for an answer, as my mother used to call them…

  3. I get the impression that the people you describe use the “flawed” area of theirs lifes as an excuse. “I can’t do X because I don’t have any money” means they never really wanted to do X, they just like to talk about it. So, like Teddy said, accept them like they are.

  4. Stefan, I totally didn’t mean that. I meant to say that sometimes people have problems, and they need to look inside them to solve the problem. But when they don’t outside reminder would be helpful. Let’s say I have a problem with my stomach. That would be for a very obvious reason – I don’t eat right. And sometimes, a serious talk with a person you trust and love should really make you think about it and get help to change your bad habits. I wouldn’t like my closest buddies to accept me with a problem with my stomach.

  5. You sound like you blame your ‘failure’ to help some of your friends on them.

    You assume a position where you wish to make decisions that will effect a persons life for them. Not everybody and that possibly include your friends have to agree with your perception of needing help, by nature most people wont think you know whats best for them better than them.
    You might expect your will to help to be rewarded but it can piss people off when you get too personal with them, it sounds like your friends have developed some anti against your idea and the way you presented them, just drop it for a while or forever.

  6. QQ, are you saying I am doing it to reward myself?
    otherwise, I definitely agree, with “just drop it for a while or forever”.

  7. “just drop it for a while or forever” ?!
    that’s not what friends do.
    i don’t think that you should help you friends only when it is convenient to do so. or only when it is the kind of help YOU think it’s appropriate or necessary.
    the best kind of help is to feel what the other person needs in the moment and give him THAT, not what YOU think he needs.

    sometimes people need solitude, sometimes they need just a hug, sometimes they need the support you’re talking about. most importantly they need to know that they’re not gonna be left in their darkest and hardest times.

    sure it doesn’t feel good when you see your friend do something stupid and when you know it takes just a little bit of change for him to be better. but what seems like “a little bit of change” to you might be miles and years of change for that person. in these moments you don’t give up but you change your ways. maybe this person just needs to find the intrinsic value in himself, maybe he needs to feel strong and significant first or maybe he needs to know that even if he doesn’t change he will still be loved and accepted… or maybe he needs something trivial like financial support..

    does it ever cross your mind that the way you think it’s best to help these friends might just not be the RIGHT way to help them and not mean that they are hopeless or that they don’t want to or a ready for a change?

  8. Yeah, you are right. But just sometimes, only sometimes, you can’t figure out what they need, and everything you do comes out wrong. That’s when you need a break.

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