- continuing forever or for a very long time without stopping
- happening all the time or very often
Once upon a time, in a land far away I was a servant. In fact, several times and in many lands, I was a helper, a butler, a charlady, a nanny, a slave, a valet and every other position of servitude you can imagine.
Convinced as I am that we either pass through this “place” more than once or have multiple and simultaneous existences, explains my propensity to serve. My current appearance on this Earth plane and my upbringing also confirmed my notion.
Taught that it was my lot in life to fulfil my mother’s every need, being an overachiever I took it to another level. Anyone with an even slightly downward turn of their eyes could have me bending backwards, forwards, sideways and on my head in one smooth sequence to help them out.
Perpetual Contortionist Was Not Me
That was my modus operandi for much of my life until I turned 48 and realized that being a contortionist was really not my calling.
Why did it take so long? The most life-changing, direction-amending and value-adding changes usually take time; as long as is required to get you to rock bottom.
Does that mean I have stopped helping others? Absolutely not, however, the quality of my helping has changed. That is what I would like to share with you today with this brief and completely unscientific test.
Answer these questions with a “Yes,” “No,” “Sometimes,” or “Never.” There is no right or wrong answer. Simply answer from your heart.
1. Your friend is in a bind again and asks for your help. She is a single parent, working two jobs and can hardly afford daycare. One of her jobs called with an offer of overtime but, again, she has no money for a sitter. Do you help, again?
2. A colleague at work is running late and texts you to help him out by setting up the meeting room for a major presentation. This could mean a promotion for your colleague if all goes well or major embarrassment if your boss gets there and things are not in place. Do you help your colleague get a promotion?
3. Retired and with too much time on her hands, your mother calls you to come over and help her rearrange the furniture on Saturday. You met this really nice guy and had planned a picnic Saturday – your third date. Do you postpone and go help your mother?
4. A brother from another mother calls and need to borrow a couple of hundred dollars until his payday in a week. This is the third time you received such a call over the last six months. You got your money back the last couple of times, so what’s the harm? Do you help?
Check Your Answers
Now, go back over your answers and ask yourself for each one:
- Is that what I would really do or it just sounds better?
- What would I really do?
- Would I feel a need to explain my answer to the person?
- Where did that response come from? Was it from “my needing to be liked the place or my free to give centre?”
Your evaluation questions (the second set) and your answers to those, if done honestly, will reveal to you whether you are a perpetual helper – one who has to, need to, cannot help myself, guilty helper, or whether you help according to your true desire and ability to help.
Guilty, Needy Have To Be A Perpetual Helper
Had you asked me to take this same test before my 48th birthday, my result would have pointed to the “guilty,” “need to” helper – the person who helped because I was guilted into it and needed to be loved by others.
Until I was on my butt with no one offering to help me and reflecting on my own responses to help requests, I was a perpetual helper. Eight years ago I stopped living and behaving in that fashion.
Still very much a helper, a giver and my most favoured ‘title’ – a server, my assistance now come from a place of:
From My Widows Mite
What this means is whatever the request, if I am not able to freely support you, with no thought as to whether I will get it back, no sense of loss AND that it will move your life forward – then I will not help.
The ironic thing is that sometimes, not helping is the greatest help you can offer. I know this is the truth. Many turned their backs on me when I hit my rock bottom and oh, what a blessing that was! Now, I am making my way back up, solidly and firmly on my own two feet.
Yes, sometimes no help is great self-help.