What do you do when you see a classmate struggling with something?
I suppose in my case it would be a colleague or peer. Throughout my life people told me I was too sensitive and I needed to grow a thicker skin. In the same breath I was too mean. So what’s the deal? The moral of the story is you can’t please everyone so you might as well please yourself. As a kid, I was hypersensitive to kids who were bullied or harmed, or even struggled with tasks. I wanted to help and protect everyone. I know there is a whole case study as to why I was like that – no need to go into the psychology of it. However, it is a trait I still have. I like being a helper.
I am careful who I help. I look at a multitude of factors.
- Do I consider them a friend?
- If they are a stranger – is it something I can assist with that won’t put me in jeopardy?
- Do they help others?
- Are the generally kind?
- Do I think I can trust them?
If I can answer yes to these questions – then I will help to the level they will let me. That is important. No point in helping someone who wont accept your help. Mister Rogers tells children to look for the helpers. I know I am one of his helpers.
I knew a woman who helped strangers unconditionally because it might be Jesus – you never know. But when it came to friends and family, forget it. I always found that strange. She rather let something rot in front of her than give it to someone in her family who would use it. She would demand help rather than ask for it. That’s fine, it was her prerogative. That is not how I am. If I can, I will help. As a kid I could see when people needed help. As a hermit or recluse – not really but feels like that now in quarantine – I need verbal ques and direct asking because I feel clueless. When someone struggles, it genuinely hurts my heart. Contrary to popular sibling belief, I am not a monster but siblings see each other as forever 11 never maturing. Boundaries can make people perceive you that way because you will say no. I suppose it is complicated.
I like to say yes, but saying no can be very good for me. Evaluating the situation is new for me and smart. I think the correct answer is to be self-aware and know what you are capable of doing because you can’t give water from an empty well.
How about you? Are you one of Mister Rogers helpers?