When it comes to how you help yourself, there are unlimited resources. You can read as many books as you want, you can find courses that will require your constant effort between a few days and a few years. You can always find practical activities to help you improve yourself.
On the other hand, when it comes to how you help others, there are no books – personal development was never about helping others. The whole industry of personal development is so focused on what we can do to become better and, as a result, we become selfish because we start focusing on ourselves and nothing more.
The purpose of this article is to provide you a starting point for understanding that if you want to properly help yourself, you have to help others at the same time. After all, we’re living in a society and being part of a society requires doing things together.
When it comes to the act of helping, there are two people involved: the one who’s asking for help and the one who’s providing help. BOTH PEOPLE SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN FOLLOWING THE NEXT STEPS.
If you’re asking a friend for help, then show this article to your friend. If someone is asking for your help, then show them this article. It works both ways and the thing this article does is that it puts both parties on the same path of offering help and asking for help.
Step 1. Start with a strong definition
Before offering help or asking for help, it’s important that both parties involved in this activity to define help.
Therefore, write down what’s the help you’re asking for and what’s the provided help.
I’m asking for ___
I’m offering ___
Step 2. Build a framework for offering help and asking for help
Such a framework is helpful when it comes to defining a specific activity. Through this framework, you set a purpose for the activity and a set of rules that will make the activity available just in a specific situation.
Therefore, when it comes to both offering help and asking for help, decide the two following things:
- PURPOSE: What is the reason you’re offering help or asking for help?
- RULES: When are you offering help or asking for help?
At PURPOSE, the reason you’re asking for help can be something like this:
- I’m asking for help because I’m lacking knowledge;
- I’m asking for help because I don’t have time;
- I’m asking for help because I need urgent assistance.
The same examples can be applied when you’re offering help. You can do it because the other person is lacking knowledge, doesn’t have time, or needs urgent assistance.
At RULES, there are three moments we have to take into consideration:
- Past: What have I done until the moment I’m offering help or asking for help?
In case you’re asking for help, what are the things you have done, until the present moment, related to what you’re asking help for? What results did you have? Describe how you’ve tried to improve your situation.
In case you’re offering help, the person who’s receiving your help should answer the same above questions. What are the things they have done until the present moment, related to the help your offering? What results did they have? Ask them to describe how they’ve tried to improve their situation.
- Present: What are the things I can or can’t do right now and where do I specifically ask for help or provide help?
In case you’re asking for help, think about the present moment and write down the things you can’t do right now. Around those things you’ll ask for help.
In case you’re offering help, think about the present moment and write down the things you can do right now to provide specific help.
- Future: Until when and where I’m going to offer help or need help?
In case you’re asking for help, be specific about the resources you’re going to need and for how long.
In case you’re offering help, be specific about the resources you’re going to invest and for how long.
Step 3. Unsolicited help produces unwanted changes
For instance, when you’re trying to help someone lose weight, without being asked for and without caring how much the other person is trying to change their lifestyle, two things can happen:
- You provide help and you see the other person has no results – this will negatively impact both parties involved;
- Because your help is not needed, the person who’s supposed do to something with your help may not get involved at all and you (the one who’s offering help) become frustrated for this reason.
Whenever you want to help someone and that person doesn’t need or want your help (even though you KNOW and SEE their suffering), just STOP, take a step back, and wait. In such a situation, waiting is the best thing you could do. Wait until they recognize they need your help.
What’s the worst thing you could do?
Well, there are a few. You could start raising your voice and forcing the other person to accept your help. You could say that they either accept your help or they start living their lives as you expect them to.
All these things have one end and one end only. They’ll break the relationship.
Thus, understand that unsolicited help produces unwanted changes and do nothing.
With love and optimism,