There is a saying, “God only helps those who help themselves” and it is a saying that I try to live by. Often we think we are helping someone but we are actually enabling them. We can also be robbing that person of an opportunity to gain “strength thru adversity”. When we overcome an obstacle or solve a problem, it gives us sense of pride and confidence as well as developing reasoning and problem solving skills. The very best things we can offer someone is encouragement and emotional support.
When I left my abusive ex and moved into my mother’s house, she told me that she was in a position to financially support me but to do so would cripple me. It was one of the most loving things she could say to me. What I heard was that she would not let me give up on life. I didn’t need her money but I did need a home even if temporarily and she needed my help in recovering from a serious illness.
I had always been independent but now I found myself emotionally broken with little confidence and it would have been too easy to disengage from life. Little by little, a network of supportive people stepped up with encouragement, assistance and helpful information many of whom had just come into my life. Not one of these people would take credit for what I accomplished because it was all done selflessly and with no enabling. I became stronger day by day, regained confidence and got my feet back on the ground. Every step of the way, my mother was in my balcony cheering me on along with many others who I met on the path to wholeness.
All this being said, as much as I would like to jump in with both feet to help this young woman, I would be tapping in to my past experience rather than her present. I am grateful to her for giving me an opportunity to see that I am still a work in progress. I need to come to terms with my abuse by doing my own work before I can become involved in helping someone else.
Being self-ish is not always easy because we have to put blinders on to others’ perception of who we should be and how we should live. We will always be responsible for the outcome of our decisions and actions regardless of others’ opinions. Giving consideration to others’ opinions and suggestions can be helpful but in the end we have to do what is best for us and only we know what that is.