Helpful help is requested, not assumed.

Thought for today…..

Relationships are often difficult for us survivors of bad things.

Something I’ve picked up along the way?

Is accepting others where they are, as they are  VS where we think they should be….

Goes a long way to making relationships work better.

When we decide what others need to work on we communicate that we believe they can’t do for themselves.

In fact, when we try to manipulate them by pointing out or suggesting that we know better – we become part of the perpetuation of the pain.

The message they have always received from this kind of help – is that something is “wrong” with them.

They are not “good enough” as they are.

They are not “smart enough”.

They can never do things “right enough”.

When we offer unrequested “help” and then – get irritated they are not where we think they should be, we are not offering “helpful help”.

We are trying to fix them so we don’t feel the frustration and pain of watching others struggle with their own path.

This kind of help, where we’ve made ourselves judge and jury, is hurtful.

Think about it.

How does it make you feel when others are intruding into your life…

Deep diving for information that they later use to question you or demand explanations?

“Well, I thought you said you were going to……”

How does it feel to you when those people are constantly offering ideas and suggestions that you didn’t ask for?

“You know – all you need to do is…..”

“Isn’t it time you ……” 

Do you end up trying to avoid these people so you can avoid the feelings that come with being constantly critiqued and criticized?

Do you grumble and complain to others about those who seem to be nitpicking at you?

“Helpful help” allows grace for where they are with love.

(love = acceptance for who they are not when they fit our idea of who they should be).

Helpful help is help that is asked for, blending with boundaries that keep “my stuff” separate from “your stuff”.

Healthy boundaries prevent us from feeling taken advantage of because we end up “giving” more than anyone else gives to us. (Here are several posts on Boundaries, if you’re interested.)

Unhelpful help?

Always conveys an energy that says something like:

“I know what is wrong with you/your life/your work/your family/kids/spouse etc…”

“I know what you need”….

And something that ends up meaning “you are less than me because I’m so good and got it all together”….

“And if you’d just do what I say – everything would be alright”.

We try to come off as wanting to help but really?

We want them to change – instead of waiting for them to want to change.

Helpful help?

Is always help asked for, not assumed.

Helpful help is different from enabling helping.

Enabling helping is doing for another that which they can – and should – be doing for themselves.

Helpful help is offering help for another to do something that they would not be able to do alone.

Healing relationships?

Begins with healing our own stuff so we aren’t always trying to fix their stuff.

It’s healing our own stuff so we aren’t aggravated at others struggle or complaints.

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change (others thoughts, feelings, behaviors)

Courage to change the things I can (my own thoughts, feelings, behaviors)

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

It’s realizing that our “helping” is really just a  distraction from addressing our own stuff.

It’s being able to say “I’m sorry this is so difficult for you” instead of “here’s how you fix this”.

It’s having the boundaries to stop trying to work it out with those who are not willing to make things work.  

Healing our own issues?

Is the beginning of healing our relationship issues. 🙂


Some additional reading can be found here.

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