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March 26, 2018
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July 11, 2018

When You Help Others, You Help Yourself

You will find that helping others is a foundational component of our society.

Service, is everywhere.

Just think, every business in existence gives something to or does something for its customers. People, just like you, spend their lives employed by companies with one purpose, do good work for the benefit of a customer.

Why is this the case?

Because everyone struggles, everyone needs help sometimes, and everyone has a limited ability to help themselves solve all of the problems we face throughout our lives.

This is a fundamental truth in life, and is the reason for the capitalistic world we live in.

Let’s take this idea and look at it from a different angle, one where we are the customer, the one who needs help solving a problem, the one that is struggling.

It is inevitable that we are going to wrestle with things in our lives. Be it our health, our esteem, our relationships – very few aspects of our lives pass by without requiring us to solve some type of problem.

Sometimes we face these problems, and the person, business or entity that can offer us support is not immediately apparent.

Here is a trick (that may seem counterintuitive at first) to help you, help yourself:

Seek opportunities to offer others help.

Be it a large or small gesture, being a source of support and thoughtfulness can lift our outlook on the problems we face in our own lives.

Why is this the case?

There are a few reasons…

  1. Helping others provides us with perspective.
    • It shows us that others are struggling too, that we are not alone in our fight, whatever that fight may be.
    • It also shows us that, in the grand scheme of problems people face, ours may not be as significant as we are making them out to be.
  2. Helping others provides us with a source of hope.
    • If we are willing to work with others to alleviate their problems, what is to say that others are not willing to help us with ours?

I recently had an opportunity to try this out for myself.

While playing basketball at a public park in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, a friend of mine struck up a conversation with a man standing on the sideline. Turned out that he was recently out of work, out of a place to live, and feeling like he had run out of options.

I had entered the park concerned about problems in my own life, however I walked away from my encounter with this man knowing that my problems were not insurmountable. I walked away knowing that by helping that man, I had helped myself.

Upon hearing this man’s struggles, I opened a Community-based Organization application that I received access to as a result of my job. I identified 9 free job search assistance agencies and 3 temporary shelters that he could contact to help him get back on his feet. The whole interaction took less than 5 minutes.

The appreciation expressed by this man cannot be described in prose. He was beyond grateful, and I was beyond happy to help.

Just like businesses, people are generally willing to help if they can, because service is rooted in who we are as functioning members of society.

So, when you are the one struggling, don’t forget this point! Seeking opportunities to help someone else may provide you with the perspective, or the hope, to begin the process of overcoming the problems you face in your own life.

1 Comment

  1. Sally McElroy says:

    Great article. Simply: help yourself by helping others. Good message.
    See you soon.

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