Offering Help: It’s Not Always Helpful

In a world that glorifies helping others, it’s almost sacrilegious to question its value. Is offering help always beneficial? Or are we just conditioned to extend it out of politeness, even when it’s not needed?

The Illusion of Offering Help

We’re often told that offering help is a sign of empathy, not intrusion. But what if this well-intentioned act is disempowering others? When we offer support that isn’t needed, we’re subtly undermining the abilities and potential for growth of those we’re trying to assist.

The Dilemma of Autonomy

Autonomy is a fundamental human need. It’s what drives people to learn, grow, and become self-reliant. Yet, the moment help enters the picture, autonomy often takes a backseat. Those we’re trying to assist become passive recipients rather than active problem-solvers. So, before you extend that offer of help, ask yourself: Am I enhancing their growth, or am I compromising their autonomy?

The Misguided Duty of Helping Others

Helping others is often seen as a moral duty. But is it always the right thing to do? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant suggests that giving can be a source of personal fulfilment. But there’s a caveat. Help should empower, not disempower. It should be a hand-up, not a handout. So, the next time you rush to help someone, pause. Are you genuinely helping, or are you just satisfying your need to feel useful?

The Pitfall of Unsolicited Help

Unsolicited help is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a gesture of goodwill. On the other, it can be a subtle form of control, imposing our views and solutions on others. It’s crucial to remember that what seems like a struggle to us might be an opportunity for growth for someone else.