Helping the Helpless

There are the helpful and the helpless. Most of us see these aspects as a natural cycle that repeats itself. If we take a closer look we realize that everyone has a strong predilection towards one aspect or the other.

I see myself as being more helpful than helpless. I see a problem and work my way to helping fix it. This might be a personal trait where I feel that someone else’s needs outweigh my own whether it be an aspect of their own life or work related. I have found that those struggling to resolve their own problems are usually incapable of working through them due to some sort of flaw in reasoning or by being emotionally involved in their situation.

There have been times when I too have been emotionally involved in my own situations. During these times, I have reached out for help and recieved it. Due to the emotions involved, it may have not been the help that I wanted but it was the help that I needed. Always, this help has been from others who are adequately equipped in being able to help themselves.

The people that I remember the most are always those who cannot help themselves. Maybe this is just an aspect of focus, because I hardly spend as much time thinking about those who don’t need my help. The helpless are memorable not because of any redeeming quality but because I usually go out of my way in order to help them. Sometimes though, even when I do help them, they still require my help. This process has at times escalated to the point where those that I have helped frequently in the past come to utterly depend on me, thus becoming another would-be enabler for their codependency.

Are the helpless incapable of actually receiving genuine help because they are incapable of giving it? I have often wondered about this as I have witnessed it several times. Someone, usually run aground on their life or times, asks for help and manages to get their issue(s) resolved only to go back on the same self-depreciating habits that causes the situation to repeat itself. The situations rarely change, only the people involved and the order in which events play out.

There is nothing wrong with being a helpful person. Those that are helpful are the ones that end up making the environment in which they are planted a better place. Usually, there is a group of helpful individuals that band together with their combined experiences in order to help resolve situations that the other may not be able to resolve. Helpers helping helpers… What I caution though, is to be wary of the types of people who ask for help while being unwilling to help themselves first.

Those unwilling to help themselves have a pattern that I’ve noticed. In their past, there has always been someone that has helped them along, whether it be a parent, family member, significant other, mentor, etc. Instead of these helpers giving them the requisite advice for past situations, they simply take care of the problem for them, undermining the learning points. Over time, this teaches that “if I ever have a problem, I can just get someone else to do it for me.” As they grow older, their situations become ones that “always happen to them” instead of them causing the situations. Those who fail to learn the lesson are doomed to repeat it has never rang truer than in this type of setting.

Be cautious of the helpless and scrutinize if its really because they are ill-equipped to deal with the situation or if they are looking for another enabler for their self-depreciating habits. This type of helpless individual is always the one that is a drain to be around and makes the same mistakes over and over. As many times as I have tried, you can never help those who are unwilling to help themselves.

 

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Relationship with Yourself

The defining aspects of relationships are becoming frequently overlooked or forgotten. I have even fallen prey to this thus impacting the things that I enjoy most, to include writing. What I wished I had realized sooner is that in order for us to be in a healthy relationship we must first have the same with ourselves.

There are many different types of relationships, but here I will be talking primarily about committed relationships with your significant other. Whether you are only dating, have been in a committed relationship for a considerable amount of time, or if you are even married, this is what I will be talking about today.

I honestly did not know what having a relationship actually meant. Before, I saw it as companionship. Having someone to go through life together with and be able to share the fun with. This was supported by my perceptions of relationships when I first began learning about them in high school. My how naïve I was.

When I was in high school, everyone was getting into relationships. You weren’t technically someone unless you had a boyfriend/girlfriend, were going on dates and double dates, attending all the dances, holding hands in the hallway, and making out in the secluded corners of the school. It was yet another social convention that you had to buy into and conform with. Coupled with everyone being horny teenagers, you can see just how misguided this sort of mindset is. I grew up seeing that in order to actually be someone, you had to be in a relationship with someone else first.

Is this a Western problem? I don’t think it is that exclusive. Yes, I have met my fair share of people who had a better committed relationship in high school than the majority of adults out there today. Hell, even I can be placed into that category as well. Throughout my travels and all the people I have met there seems to be a growing impetus for discovery of someone else instead of the discovery of self. Maybe its in our genes, but I’m no geneticist.

Last night, before going to bed, I asked myself: “If I were someone else, would I want to be in a relationship with me?” My answer was a very resounding “No.” I don’t know what I want, where I am going necessarily, or who I really am for starters. All of these are self-awareness items that I would expect someone else to have pretty well figured out before being involved with them. The thing is though is that there is no expectation or emphasis placed on expecting the very same from ourselves. Hence, this is my current homework as of late…

Self-realization and actualization, I feel, needs to be more strongly emphasized over the pursuits of what you can offer to someone else. Granted, there always needs to be a balance but how can we give our best to someone else when we don’t have a grasp on ourselves in the first place? As contradictory as it may sound, the first step to any relationship is to have a relationship with yourself first.

Fatherhood for Dummies

Being a father changes things, but not how you might think. Those who know these things are either already a parent or will quickly learn in nine months time. Fatherhood is something that cannot be taught, only experienced. But I am going to take a stab at it anyways…

Fatherhood strains a relationship. Not because of any previously existing discontent between you and your significant other, but because there will be a period of time when you have not fully realized your situation yet. You never do until nine months later and you finally get to hold your child for the first time. For your wife/girlfriend on the other hand, its been real all this time. She tries to understand, but cannot. She began realizing everything as soon as the first physical changes started happening to her body. Nine months seems like a long time looking forward at it, but its a drop in the bucket in hindsight.

Life as a father is different, but that does not mean you completely lose it for the next eighteen years. Yes, you have added responsibilities as this fleshy little meat-bag is now dependent on you and what you can offer it. That does not mean that the laws of physics have suddenly changed to where the universe suddenly revolves around your child however. I have seen many people lie to themselves by saying “I’m not ready to have kids because there is so much else that I still want to do with my life.” Having kids is not about what you have to give up, but what you want to include them in…

Many others tell themselves: “I’ll have kids when I am ready.” You are never ready and I am telling you that you never will be either. But that is the joy of it. Parenting is not about knowing everything and being completely prepared for every situation you may encounter. You will raise a robot that way by trying to teach them, not show them, the things you wish you would have known. Just because you are now the teacher does not mean that you suddenly stop being the student as well. You learn and they learn, and you both become the kind of person that you want to see exist in this world.

The long nights and less free time will inevitably wear on you. You will still go to work and still do your projects around the house because those are the things that you have to do. Its not that you do not have time anymore, you just cannot afford to waste it. Time that you would have normally have spent mindlessly playing video games, gossiping about meaningless sporting events, or whatever other leisure activity of your choice. If you were wasting time to begin with, then what really were you accomplishing? Yes, sometimes you do have to waste time in order to make time but by having less of it you will be more grateful of how you waste your time in the first place.

On the outside looking it, everyone only sees the negative aspects of parenting. The crying, the fussing, the dirty diapers, the sleepless nights…  People see and latch onto the negativity, refusing to ever see the good. I can tell you, the good greatly outweighs the bad. My daughter’s smile, her laughs, her gaze, her curiosity… I know, it sounds all mushy and emotional but it is really some of the purest emotions that you ever can and ever will experience. Unfortunately, you cannot have the good without the bad and most can only realize the latter.

My daughter is five months old now. I see myself as a better person by becoming a father but not a different one. To those on the outside looking in, I probably do look different and, until now, have only been able to fathom as to the reasons why. I have not really changed, but my perspective has.