The Folly of Being Helpful

As you read this, please know that I have nothing against helping people, even strangers.

There was a time when being helpful was like my side gig. I was, it seemed, very invested in providing assistance, always on the ready, as if I was collecting badges. I was helping a myriad of people, some of whom I didn’t even know like that. To be honest, sometimes I don’t even understand why I was doing it but for sure, in hindsight, it was definitely and completely unnecessary. Was it rooted in an expectation or was I looking for meaning and connection?

I think a part of me felt that in helping these people, I was cementing my place in their lives by showing how important I was to them. How in some ways, they needed me. Because see, I am doing all these things for you. We know that’s not how it works right?

We cannot hoodwink our way into being seen.

Wanting to be seen by people is a legitimate thing and sometimes, people have no interest in seeing us – which is also a legitimate thing. And most often, in the case of unwarranted helpfulness, your being seen is pegged on helping. So if you aren’t helpful, you aren’t seen. And then what?

Wanting to be helpful for reasons that make sense to you, rooted in self awareness is what I’m basically advocating for here. Not so that people can realise how they can’t live without you because you do things for them that they haven’t even asked you to do. But because there is authenticity behind it or at the very least an understanding that you want something, or even being manipulative.

So are you helping because you are begging to be seen? Stand in that truth. Are you helping because you want to be seen as a “good person”? Embrace that.