Helping Relationships: The Catalyst or the Thief

I’ve been thinking lately, about the urge to help…

Throughout my years as a Helping Professional, I’ve heard many people question Helpers’ motives:  Why? Why? Why do we help? I’ve heard people suggest that it’s because it feeds the ego; or because it makes one feel better about oneself; or because it makes one feel powerful, or secure, or needed…  all kinds of strange and twisted reasons…

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you that the reason I help is very, very simple: I help because I can, and on some deep, primal level – I know that it’s the right thing to do.  For me – not helping is a travesty. For me, not helping is a sacrilege, a rejection of everything that is good and beautiful in this world.  On a deeply personal level, not helping is a rejection of all the gifts that were given to me, in my birth upon this planet.

I help because I am driven to.

In helping though, I believe it is imperative that we look closely at how we help, and that we keep a diligent and watchful eye on the line between helping where help is truly needed, and doing for someone else, something they could be doing for themselves.

When helping, we must ask ourselves:

Is my help wanted? Is my help necessary? Is my help empowering the person I am helping? Is there an approach that could create a situation where the person I am helping could do, or learn to do some or all of this themselves? Do I have the knowledge/resources to solve this problem, or teach this skill? Are there other experts available to help solve this problem, or teach this skill?

You see, every time we do for someone, something they are capable of doing for themselves, we rob them of the opportunity to learn, to grow, to develop skill, to develop confidence, to develop self respect. Every time we do for someone, something they are capable of doing for themselves, we deprive them of an opportunity to be everything they can be – we steal a little piece of their magic.

In helping, one’s job is to be a resource person, a problem solver, a possibility generator, a force that inspires another human being to do, and be, everything they are capable of – especially where they are facing challenges, or maybe haven’t quite figured out yet – that they have the capacity within themselves. In helping, one’s job is to act as a conduit, a connection, a motivating factor, a catalyst. And when every other option has been exhausted, one’s job is to make what would otherwise