Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

When Is Help Indeed Helpful?

Filed under: Advocacy,Living with a disability — by at 10:59 pm on Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Three crows sitting on a park bench
(Photo credit: Jari Leivo)

A few months ago, I watched from my home office window as a couple of crows built a nest in the spruce tree. The eggs have since hatched and the babies are growing. Today must have been flying lessons. I looked out as the crows were squawking yet again. A well-intending woman was chasing after a fledgling on the ground, with two angry bird parents circling above her, reminiscence of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. She carefully scooped up the baby and placed him on a lower spruce branch

Although the woman meant well, she was trying to help in a situation that didn’t require help; a situation I can relate to, well. Having a physical disability and being in a wheelchair leads people to assume I need help, even when none was solicited. Strangers have kindly assisted me, even after I cheerily responded, “No, thanks,” to their offer. I am then left feeling obliged to be appreciative for help rendered.

At times assistance is greatly appreciated. At other times, despite being slow or not being graceful, help really isn’t required and, sometimes, can be no help at all. When in doubt, simply ask if I would like help. Then respect my response, please.

There is one way you can help me at the moment. I will be sincerely appreciative if you would vote for me daily so that I might be paid to blog for a year. Thanks!

As for the baby crow, it’s probably best to leave it alone, unless it is obviously injured or in danger.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Avril

June 13, 2007 @ 7:55 am

It’s interesting, this balance that’s needed between giving and receiving (whether that be help or gifts or money or compliments or whatever). We all want to feel helpful and generous, but we forget that when we go overboard, we risk making the other person feel small and helpless.

I’ve had a few struggles with money over time, and during the lean periods, some of my friends were generous to a fault, insisting on paying for everything and refusing to allow me the pleasure of treating them sometimes – and it IS a pleasure! I had to explain to them that by refusing to allow me to reciprocate, they were not doing me a favour. On the contrary, they were setting up a power imbalance where I felt obligated to them – and humiliated at the thought that they saw me as “poor” (which I certainly didn’t feel myself to be!)

So keep reminding us, Glenda!

Comment by Glenda

June 13, 2007 @ 11:07 am

It definitely is a fine balancing act, Avril. Too much help can make us feel indebted, inferior. But if we continual refuse help, then who will be there when we truly need it? On the other hand, isn’t it awesome that strangers and friends alike are willing to help for nothing in return? Renews one’s faith in humankind.

Comment by Debbie Havusha

June 14, 2007 @ 9:40 am

I think that we need to ask ourselves why do we want to help?
We need to identify who really needs and could benefit from help.
Then we need to ask the individual who we perceive needs help, if they want our kind of help.
Our intuitive and respectful understanding will indicate our course of action.
Now the bigger question is -How do we help others to understand this helper-helpee equation?
Do you have any blog formulas Glenda?
Respectfully yours,
Debbie Havusha

Comment by Philip

June 15, 2007 @ 11:40 am

Great analogy!

I’ve voted for you 🙂

Comment by Glenda

June 15, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

Great question, Debbie! I’m working on a response. Watch for a follow-up post. It might take me a bit, tho. I know who I would like to interview for the response, if she is available. Stay tuned!

Thanks for your vote, Philip!

Comment by Jana

June 22, 2007 @ 6:37 am

I just wanted to say that as a new reader of your blog, I’ve learned so much!

Personally, I always run into the extreme of always saying “I can do it ALL BY MYSELF” (I’m 4’11” and have “short woman complex” just a bit lol) to the point where people stop asking if I need help… even when I need it! To top it off… I’m to stubborn to ask!

Comment by Denise

June 25, 2007 @ 11:46 am

Just wanted to let you know that I found you through the Gack Ink Network and voted for you.

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