Monday, July 26, 2010

Throwing Back the Lifesaver

Last time, I wrote about asking for help and also being able and willing to help someone else in need. As I finished that post, another thought occurred to me and that thought is the focus of this post. It’s simple. You cannot help everyone.

There are people out there who don’t want help. There are people out there who don’t want YOUR help. There are people out there who don’t even think that they need help.

The people who don’t want help are often the bootstrappers. They are fiercely independent and they feel that asking for help is like admitting the ultimate failure. No matter how bad things get they can handle it. They can solve their own problems and are willing to lose their homes, jobs, friends and even lives to prove it.

The people who specifically don’t want your help are people that you might have wronged or offended. Again, it’s the pride that just won’t let them give you the satisfaction of helping them. These people might harbor secret resentment if they think you are doing ‘better’ than them. They might even ascribe motives to your altruism that never occurred to you. Regardless, of what you do, you and your help are of no use to them.

The last group is people who haven’t even realized they have a problem. Addicts in denial fall into this group but it’s made up of many more. These are the people who believe that their situations can turn around at any minute. “Things aren’t so bad,” they tell themselves. In many cases, they are simply unwilling to accept the reality of their situations and there really is nothing you can do about it.

You might see this person headed for a fall, not looking objectively at a situation or refusing to see the big picture. It doesn’t matter because the moral of the story is that you can't help someone who doesn't want help.

As painful as it might be, the best thing you can do is be there for them if they ever do decide that they need you.

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