To Help or Not to Help?

Today my friend Jenny wrote a great blog post on how one author’s success is success for all and how we should help each other. For the most part I’m in complete agreement with her. I, too, feel that when one of us achieves success, we all do. I also feel that if we want others to support us and our dreams, we have to be willing to do the same, which I’m okay with.

My problem is this:

I’m a very helpful person…to a fault. I’ve let people walk all over for me for years without standing up for myself. I let people hurt and use me because I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to think I deserved better. I know now, though, that I do. I deserve just as much respect as the next person. No less.

Now that I’m in a position where I can help others achieve success while trying to achieve my own, I’m faced with a difficult dilemma. What I’m already noticing is that there are people who are more than willing to take advantage of my helpful nature, which SUCKS! I don’t mind helping others; I enjoy it, just ask my closest friends. But I don’t enjoy when others treat me like a doormat. When I feel like nothing I say or do matters, it really bothers me because I’m so willing to give, and I don’t understand why some people will knowingly take advantage of that.

So my question I’m posing to all of you is this: Where do I draw the line?

8 Responses to To Help or Not to Help?

  • Jenny says:

    Nikki, I responded to your comment on my site, but wanted to reiterate what I said here too. So many of the masters tell us that when we give ourselves to others, we should not expect anything in return in order to feel truly fulfilled.

    Now, as for drawing the line, sometimes you just have to say no. When the needs of others fall in the path of your own needs and prevent you from moving forward, say no. Sometimes, you just have to. Even when you feel bad. You can’t do everything all the time for everyone, otherwise you have nothing left to give yourself.

    I know it might contradict itself, but in theory if you give all of you away and have nothing left for yourself, you have nothing left for those others in your life you want to give to.

    <3 you!!

  • Imran Siddiq

    I sometimes struggle to say no.
    Being ever so helpful has been my worst enemy, so I understand how you can be caught between tough choices.

    Recently, I have started saying no at work, and people don’t like it. it’s not what they expect from me.

    I do feel bad when i say no, but you, me and many more must stop letting others take advantage of our good nature.

    @flickimp on twitter

  • Nikki says:

    I understand what you’re saying about expecting anything in return. I don’t expect people to help me. If they want to, that’s great. And I appreciate it.

    But what I take issue w/is the people that will continually use that willingness to give to their advantage. There are ones out there that will take all that you have to give and never once be thankful for it or pay it forward. I think it’s incredibly selfish that there are people like that out there.

    As for saying no, it’s definitely something I need to do. I have no problem helping some people, but I think the ones I help should be the ones that truly appreciate it and don’t take it for granted.

    I am taking time out of my own hectic schedule to help others. If I’m taking away from myself, I want it to mean something. And believe me, I don’t mind taking time away from the things that I’m trying to accomplish. I’m more than willing. However, if I continually give to those who a: don’t respect me and b: will continue exploit and use that part of me, what’s the point? Helping those that treat me that way only makes me feel worse about myself and chips away at the self-confidence I’ve started to build up. I don’t think anyone has the right to knock me back down again.

    I don’t know. I’m at a point where I have to make a few decisions, and they aren’t easy ones.

  • Nikki says:

    I’ve struggled my entire life with allowing too much. I’ve had a fellow writer use me to do their research because they were too lazy to check their facts on their own. I was so naive that I thought I was being a good friend. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that I was the butt end of a joke and that person used me because I allowed it. I’ve since cut that person out of my life, and I’m better for it. While I was friends with this person, I hated myself. And no one, I don’t care they are, has the right to make you feel that way.

    Over the past couple of years I’ve grown a lot. I’ve still got a lot of growing left to do. And one of the things that I need to work on is my willingness to look the other way when people continually use me. Helping those who appreciate it is great. To see that it matters means a lot.

    I’m not just speaking for myself here either. I know there are a lot of people that feel the same way — that are tired of feeling like they’re only good for one thing and never are appreciated or supported. I think part of my disgust w/the situation has to do with all the people I know, and that I don’t, who feel the way I do. All I can say to those people is that I appreciate what’s done for me, and when the opportunity arises to help those that have helped me, I’ll do it. No questions asked.

  • Tony Faville says:

    It can be very difficult being a giving person. I have given and helped a lot of people over the years, and quite frequently, it turned around and bit me in the butt.

    While I still give, I am more careful of who I give to.

    I am reminded of Christmas, 1989. I was in the Navy, married, and threw a Christmas party for the guys at my BAS. 13 said they would be there, so I spent way more money than a guy my rank had a right spending. 1 guy showed up. So guess what we did with all the food? We spent that afternoon and evening making sure everyone on duty all over base got a plate of hot Christmas dinner.

    Unfortunately, that was the last time I ever did anything for Christmas.

    As for when to know when to not give, follow your gut and your heart. While it still might bite you in the butt for a while, you will eventually learn who to trust.


  • Chrystal says:

    I wish I could tell you. I find myself in a similar situation.
    Chrystal recently posted..Writing Prompt- The Circus

  • Nikki says:

    It sucks, Chrystal. I hope you find some clarity and are able to fix your situation.

  • Nikki says:

    Thanks, Tony.

    That really sucks that happened to you. It’s no wonder my dad likes to say “People suck”.

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