To Help or Not to Help–That is The Question

It is within the nature of the human being to help themselves–most of us believe we can do it ourselves and we place little value on help that requires change. This philosophy has never worked well for us.

An author friend of mine has spent many years selflessly helping others. For the last three or four years that I have known her, she has been frustrated by the results of her help.

A revelation has just come to her and she has written an article about it. She loves nature and the outdoors and it has afforded her an opportunity to evaluate the true nature of helping.

She and I do not see eye to eye on helping others. She gives selflessly to anyone who would listen. This has left her in poverty and often times without food. She has been supported by a good friend in her effort to get her first book to the publisher. Still, people keep asking for her advice and it is wearing her down. It is taking up her time and is leaving her empty and impoverished.

My view has always been different. I give selfishly and only when asked. I also believe that the one asking for help must be willing to give something in return. They must have a profound investment in their own healing. This is where my friend and I differ.

It has been my experience that most people who are looking for help are not looking for change. Often help requires a change in one’s lifestyle and outlook on their circumstances.

If the practitioner or the one offering help places no value on their advice or services it becomes worthless or unworthy of another’s efforts to incorporate it into a lifestyle change.

Early in my NLP classes the instructor told us that the most important aspect of one’s healing is their own investment into it. Even when she had a small child come in for counseling she asked that the child bring in something of value to him/her as payment for the help. The child always responds better knowing that he/she has traded something of value for valuable help. There is a greater interest and willingness to accept the therapist’s suggestions. Children are a little more flexible as far as change goes because they don’t have the years of repeating the same mistakes to deal with. Most of them are open to suggestion, curiosity, and doing something new.

Working out of an office is a little different than helping people in their own space. First of all, you don’t have to sell them on the idea that they need help—it is why they are there in the first place. Second, they are more willing to pay money to be helped and they may have higher expectations.

When you offer to help a friend or someone off the street, most of the time they are just curious or are looking for a cheap fast fix to a specific issue. They are not looking for counseling or to change anything about themselves—they want the circumstances changed. If you are willing to give your time, they are more than willing to take it. Lifestyle changes require commitment and investment—it is not what these people are looking for.

In our society we have many things backwards. We worship the rich and famous—we give them our hard earned money to watch them on the screen or on the playing field. The ones that can help us the most, health care workers, teachers, and others, receive lesser pay for their more valuable services.

Without exaggeration most of us place our own well being at the bottom of our priority list. In my own experience as a clean air inspector for the home, I can say it first hand—we have it backwards.

Few people will spend the money it takes to clean up the dirt, bacteria, mold and mildew as well as dust mites in their home. They won’t spend money on their most primal need—to breath. They may have beautiful expensive homes, but it is all for show. Cars, big screen TVs, expensive furniture, going out to dinner and expensive cloths have priority over not only their own health, but those of their young children. Two hundred dollars could save their lives, and they have to think about it, geesch… it blows me away everyday I have to deal with it.

My author friend has not learned that it is spiritual malpractice to interfere with the spirit of another without their permission or request and bequest. Selflessness has not changed the world. Small victories may have been won, but they are all temporary. There must be a true will to find the way for meaningful change to occur.

Her article is worthy of your attention. The title is The Walking Stick Story and A Lesson Well Learned! If this link does not work for you, go to my article directory at: and search for the title.

For her sake I hope it is a lesson well learned. She has the heart, now she just needs to apply the wisdom. It is a valuable lesson for all those who are frustrated from the selfless act of giving or helping without pay or commitment. It is also a spiritual lesson in judgment or interfering in the natural course of things without permission.