Overhelping. Is there any such thing? Of course there is, and one thing you should know about it is that even if your intentions are mostly good, the results are mostly bad. Putting your energy, your heart and soul into doing something for someone is fantastic, some might even call it being selfless, but what if these people can very well do these things for themselves and you’re just in the way of that? Huh? Okay, it never hurts to help because helping stems from a desire to improve others’ lives, but overhelping, that’s a different ball game entirely and I’ll tell you why.
Did you have a great weekend? I bet you did!
Okay, so as much as I wouldn’t discourage anyone from always lending a helping hand whenever you can, I’d also like to encourage you to draw a line when it seems like you’re going overboard with it, especially when you’re constantly ‘helping’ at the risk of taking care of your own self.
Martha Beck says “If you’re always lending a hand, a shoulder, an ear, even a buck or two to people who can perfectly well solve their own problems, you need to get over your rescuing addiction and start taking care of yourself.”
Some of us have this addiction of wanting to fix everything for everybody, and all of these is done at the expense of our own dreams, goals and desires. We want to see everybody else’s lives in order but we can’t seem to get our own lives in check. More often than not, these people we’re trying to help are capable of doing things themselves, but we enable them by swooping in and making everything okay! Today, I’m saying you shouldn’t be doing that. For you to properly help anybody, you need to help yourself first!
How Do I Know I Am Overhelping?
So I had a personal encounter that opened my eyes and snapped me back to reality. I had been ‘helping’ out somewhere and at some point, I felt like I was okay with the level that I had reached, and it was okay for me to stop – but I didn’t. That was where my overhelping began. If I had stopped, they could have gotten help elsewhere (because they could) and I wouldn’t have had to be making excuses for why I had to continue and always complaining when I ‘helped’.
I saw some questions that could help you figure out when you’re going overboard with the helping;
• I’m often exhausted by caring for others. True/false
• I do things for people without wanting to be asked, then feel hurt if they aren’t grateful. True/false
• I frequently complain about the stress of caring for others. True/false
• I feel I’m the only person who can do things right. True/false
• The people I help couldn’t function without me. True/false
• I’m feeling smaller and more invisible as I help others grow and achieve. True/false
Questions taken from ‘O THE OPRAH MAGAZINE’
Now, you know yourself more than anybody, and if you answered true to any one of these questions, then you know it’s time to take a little step back and focus some of that energy in building yourself. Even I had to face some hard truths while answering the questions.
I realized that sometimes, overhelping is our escape from our own scary reality. We’d rather bury ourselves neck-deep into shaping other’s lives into what we’d want ours to look like. If you’ve been following this post from the beginning (which you should by the way), you’d know that after today, we’re helping ourselves more not because we’re not selfless, but because it’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes. Can I get an amen?
HOW CAN I FIX THIS?
Most times, when you overhelp, you get angry for various reasons, but you’d rather not show it because it’s supposed to be something you volunteered to do. So of course, you’d rather just say you’re stressed or just in bad mood, because life. No sis, you know exactly what is pissing you off, and it’s okay to allow yourself feel that anger rather than build it up till you explode. Oh trust me, been there done that. That anger you’re feeling might be the first step to your liberation.
What you do next is take some time off, and do something for you instead.
For the perfectionists and fix-it enthusiasts, you need to understand that God has deposited in every one of us unique and amazing gifts and qualities, all of which are meant to be utilized in different spheres of our lives. Now, robbing people of that might not sit so well with the big guy upstairs, plus you’re just going to overwork yourself and eventually experience a burnout.
Allow other people to be great or learn how to be. We either win or we learn after all.
Delegate duties, you don’t need to do it all by yourself. The moment you understand that, you’re good to go.
Don’t undermine people, allow them try first. While they’re at it, encourage them and let them know you believe in them and you know they can do it. You’d be amazed at how positive the results will be, how relaxed you’d be and how much time you’d have to do other things that could benefit you.
Take very good care of yourself, and channel some energy into becoming your own person. Support others without dragging yourself into a situation that you’d rather not be in all in the name of helping. Remember overhelping is not good for either parties; it makes you as the helper miserable, and it robs the person(s) being helped of achieving their true potential. Think about it.
Over To You…
Ever been in a situation of Overhelping? How did you get out of it? Let’s talk!