Does Helping Ever Help?

At a workshop I did yesterday with my colleague Debbie Highsmith at Ministry Days for the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, we started talking about helping. Someone raised the question, “Does helping ever help?” It’s a good question. I’ve been thinking about the help I’ve gotten that has truly helped. When I’ve struggled, the people who have been the most useful show some qualities: 1) they stay calm 2) they ask more questions and give less advice 3) they don’t have too much invested in how I do. They are happy when I start doing better, but their sense of self is not dependent on my actions. When I’m the “helper,” and can stay in that same place myself, I find I’m more good to others, too.

2 replies on “Does Helping Ever Help?

  • Margaret Marcuson

    Helping people to grow is the most important helping activity, and sometimes that means doing nothing (hard as that is for good Christians and other folk). I have to work on this all the time.

  • IGalindo

    One of the interesting things to watch when someone is first introduced to some of the concepts of BFST is the dissonance they experience related to “things they used to believe” about “helping,” “advice,” “change,” “leadership,” etc. All of a sudden they may realize that their “helping” behavior is actually an act of overfunctioning and that their penchant for advice giving is little more than willfulness related to a poor sense of self. After that, learning how to function differently becomes a challenge: how do you learn to help people by not helping? (Do I need to say that this issue is a big one when it comes to parents and their children?).


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