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March 4, 2018

Am I helping people too much?

Reader's Query

Vanita asks:
I am a 24 year old working woman. My problem is that I am far too kind! I am always trying to help the needy. All my colleagues, of both sexes, bring their problems to me and I help them as much as I can. I enjoy this.

Occasionally, I get the impression that people do not appreciate my help and that they do not really care about me. Then I feel bad and also angry. But then, in a few days, I go back to my old ways.

Is something wrong with me? Please advise.

Am I helping people too much?
Do not go out of your way to help people, especially the unappreciative and exploitative kinds. Learn to have boundaries.

Response:

Ask yourself why you are helpful

The answer to your question lies in why you are friendly and helpful. If it is just that you enjoy helping people and that you are, as you say, a kind person, it is very good. The world has very few people of this sort and your friends are lucky.

But your anger and resentment seem to indicate that the matter is not as simple as that. Your behaviour could mean that you suffer from a sense of inferiority and that you are trying to win the affection, appreciation and regard of people by being kind and helpful. Trying to be validated in this manner is not healthy.

Don’t help people who do not appreciate you or take advantage of you.

It is strange but true that, in this world, things got free are not appreciated much. And this goes also for people who go out of their way to be helpful. It is fine to be helpful and kind to very good friends who understand and appreciate you, but being kind to all and sundry only makes people think that you don't have anything better to do. They then tend to take advantage of you.

Being helpful is good and you should not change this good quality that you have.  But avoid being over-kind to unappreciative people who take advantage of you and then ignore you when they have nothing more to gain from you.  Learn to value your own schedule and plans and don’t go out of your way to help others.  If you feel unhappy and resentful while helping people, don’t do it. Also don’t help people because it makes you feel or look like a “good” person.  It’s as simple as that!

Get busy and develop better self-esteem

Develop a constructive hobby.  Read and spend time in improving your qualifications and skills. This will keep you busy and prevent unnecessary brooding. (Also read Spice up your boring life.) Of course, this does not mean that you should become selfish and self-centered. You can be kind and nice and have boundaries. Learn to value yourself and do not try to please others by helping them. Learn to hold your own and develop better self-esteem. Also read Test your level of self-esteem.


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