I recently went to the Sunday TED Talk session Cmax put on. It was good to watch TED talks which I probably wouldn’t have watched. For example, I don’t normally go for the technology stuff. The technology hit I get through my business is normally enough for me. The talk that stood out the most was by writer Anne Lamott and I probably wouldn’t have picked this one either.
One thing she said got me thinking; “help is the sunny side of control.” Growing up a strong emphasis was placed on helping other people. This was a message I'd received and something that was valued at home, school, working at Maccas and in sport. However, in all these situations I hadn’t come across this perception of helping. But to some degree it made sense. When I’ve been wanting to help people, I was trying to give them advice and show them a better way of doing things, which has similarities to control.
Controlling someone obviously wasn’t my intention. When I was wanting to help a person it was about showing I cared, wanted to support them and make things easier for them. Plus, at the end of the day it’s the persons choice if they take the help and advice. That’s out of my control.
Her comment made me question the purpose of help. Is talking to someone and giving my insight really that beneficial? Does that actually meet my intention? How can I refine what I’m doing so that it’s more beneficial to me and the other person? Is there a better way of doing things?
By doing these new actions I’ll still be able to hold true to my original intention but in a different, more effective and better way. This will allow the other person to go on their own journey and have their own lessons and learnings, rather than me regurgitate mine. After all, one of the best ways we learn is through experiences. This is what shapes us as a person, even though it can be tough watching someone else figure things out for themselves.
After all this pondering I had the brainwave that I can just ask the person “I want to help you, what’s the best way to do that?” This direct question shows that I care, want to support them and make things easier. I'll know that what I’m doing is actually helping them and if they don’t want help they can simply say that. We both end up happy, awh.
Something to think about...
"Good friends help you find important things when you have lost them...
your smile, your hope, your courage."
- Doc Zantamata