Saturday, 27 May 2017

When help is not helpful

I like to write to inspire or to share wisdom or insight but of late I am so tangled in a mess of emotions that insight is missing, perhaps lurking hidden in shadows of hurt and pain. Wisdom, elusive as a wolf in the wilderness, watches while I struggle to make sense of my world. Inspiration; it has fled into the twisted torture of loss and bewilderment.

I am torn by relief and longing. It gives me no rest. I rationalise that emotions have no power over me. That I can be strong and live in peace and harmony with myself, my past, my present, my future. And then I have a day like today. Teary, conflicted, bewildered. Wanting to act but overwhelmed by fear of consequences. Damned if I do and damned if I don't. I'm not alone in this. I know there are others out there who feel the same. I am not unique. I am not special. I am human. Having a human experience.

Desperately I look for what the lessons are in all this. If I can pluck a gem of revelation that will allow me to make better choices in future, perhaps I won't need to tread such a path again. There is a school of thought that we bring experiences to ourselves until we 'get' the lesson. Dear God let me get it. Let me get it so I can be free of making mistakes.

I can't write about situations or circumstances because there are people I don't want to hurt. I don't want to add to anyone else's pain or anguish. Let them choose their own if they need it, but let it not come from me. What use is this then?

There is something I can say that might be of use. Here it is...and I can't claim it as my own because I know I've picked it up from something I read one day. I can't remember where it came from but just know that it is not mine. What is mine is the knowledge that it is right and true and really, really important. It is this. Only offer help if you are sure you can give it. You must know how. You must have a plan to follow. Winging it is likely to end in disaster.

Offering help from a compassionate heart is good, but if you can't follow through with giving the particular kind of help that is needed and beneficial, then you actually complicate the whole issue. Because you get in the way of either allowing a person to suffer through a difficult time and grow, or you get in the way of the help coming from elsewhere. And you will be responsible for creating a mess - and likely blamed for it too.

Maybe that is my lesson. Observe. Offer encouragement. Offer understanding. Offer empathy. But do not offer help. Wait and see what happens. People are generally incredibly resilient and resourceful and most often will begin to find their own answers to problems. In person-focused counselling it is recognised that people are more likely to act on ideas to improve their situation if they have come up with them. If someone else offers solutions they are not as likely to take them up.

It is important to listen. It is important to hold space for people. It is also important to know yourself and how you value yourself in any relationship. It is important to know what you will tolerate and where you will 'draw a line'. If you choose to offer help, make sure you can take care of yourself as well. Bad days are inevitable, but if we can take something away from it all at the end; if we can reflect and find some learning in amongst it, then it is not without purpose and value. I walk through my life thinking to myself that my heart is so full of love. I have so much love to give. But for now there are walls up. Still I can send the love and hope for peace and forgiveness in times to come.

The human condition is such that we agonise over things we cannot change. We can always work on changing how we view a situation and how we think about ourselves.

There is much to be gained by choosing to be present in the moment. It's a simple philosophy and makes more sense than living in regret or fear. I can be happy when I am busy and focused and when I have a plan for the day. Being outside in nature, regardless of the weather, leaves me feeling alive and more at peace.

I have to forgive myself because I can't live in the chaos of my own un-forgiveness. Our days are numbered. I don't want to waste a single one. 

Wishing you love and peace of mind and heart.



  1. So well & beautiful written, thought provoking right through Kerry! It is important to forgive oneself & important and very true that if one offers help & really cannot follow through it does in the end complicate matters. It's so human to do this. Its me! I take on with good intentions to help & then suffer myself & things do not work as well all round! The intention was bigger & better than the outcome!!! This post really speaks to me, its something i keep learning but Im human & i err ... Thank you for this post

    1. Thanks Ana. I've just been revisiting some old posts and reflecting on my journey these past couple of years. I'm sorry that I didn't respond sooner to your comment. I appreciate that you shared your heart here, and that you could identify with my story. Much love xx

  2. There is wisdom & inspiration in your words Kerry, so open & beautifully​ written. Nature is a great healer of the wounded soul. Sending love, xx

    1. Thanks Kim. It has been good to revisit these old posts. I see how far I have come and that is healing in itself. Your love is so appreciated. Thank you xx