TO HELP OR NOT TO HELP



Personal Change: Self Assessment Areas

Are you willing to improve yourself in order to become a more effective personal or professional helper? If so, take time to figure out who you are and what you have to give or want to give to others.  Here are three approaches to self assessment: Fitness, What's Important, and Comparisons.  Choose any one of these approaches to self assessment.  Don't overwhelm yourself, however, with all three (at least not initially). 

Self Assessment:  Fitness 

The first way you can assess yourself is in terms of one or more areas of fitness: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Financial. Calculators online for assessing physical fitness include: Body Mass Index, Body Weight, Calorie Burn, and Sleep Needs.  Mental fitness resources online include: Tips, Brain Exercises, Personal Coach, Driving Test, and a Blog.  Journaling can be an aid to assessing and improving emotional and spiritual fitness.  Ira Progoff created and offered workshops on Intensive Journaling that help you develop your inner self and assist in making changes in your life. 

Self Assessment: What is Important to me? 


A second way to look at yourself is in terms of what is important to you. List your: Values (priorities), Beliefs (about people, life, death), Passions (what turns you on), and Fears (what do you shy away from). From time to time add to or revise this list. Click on the following buttons to access online resources for each:


 


Self assessment Area: Strength/Weakness, Success/Failure

A third way to look at yourself focuses on comparisons between your strengths and weaknesses or successes and failures. In one column list the strengths and in the next column the weaknesses for comparison. Use this approach to self assessment to acknowledge your strengths and successes despite your weaknesses and failures.  Build on the positives and turn some of your weaknesses or failures into strengths or successes.


​Know Thyself

Do you want to help others?  If so, why?  Are your reasons for helping others based on upbringing, religious beliefs, personal life experiences, or a combination of these?  Perhaps some of the following statements fit your views about giving help to others:

  • Someone helped me and I want to pass it on
  • In order to be helped, I have to help others
  • I feel better about myself when I'm able to help someone else
  • I want to make a difference in this world and helping others is one way
  • I have a calling to devote my life to serving others


Are you open to helping others under most circumstances or are there circumstances where you might draw the line? Do any of these statements fit you?

  • I have a bad back so if helping others requires lifting, I can't help 
  • I would be afraid to stop on the highway to help a stranded car because it could be a set up for a robbery
  • I won't put my own life in jeopardy to save another as I have a spouse and children dependent on me


Are you open to helping anyone or do you have prejudices, biases, or stereotypical thinking illustrated below that restricts help giving to certain individuals or groups? 

  • I'm still getting over the prejudices that were taught to me growing up in the south and might hesitate initially to help someone of color.
  • Those homeless people should be working and not begging I'm not sure I want to help. 
  • I don't believe that guy is blind; he uses a cane for mobility but sits in the restaurant reading a menu.  Why should I help him? 



Plan for Change

Select an item to change.  If you assessed your fitness areas, select one.

Next picture what will be different once you have made the change.  For example, if in the area of physical fitness you chose to stop smoking, picture how fresh your breath and clothes would smell when you were around people you wanted to help.     

Then figure out the steps you need to make to  bring about the change.  For the example of stopping smoking, would you attempt to quit "cold turkey" or buy and use a patch or special gum?  Would you ask a friend or family member to support you in this change or join a support group?  Would you reward yourself for each day you don't smoke or require yourself to donate money to a charity for each day you continue to smoke?  Make a plan of what you will change and how you will go about achieving your goal.  


Why does it matter whether you are fit or not?  You only want to help others.

Sometimes we help people because we ourselves need help in an area of our lives.  
By focusing on helping others, we give ourselves excuses for not working on ourselves.
Sometimes in our helping efforts we may tend to feel superior or privileged.  
By working on our own shortcomings it helps us recognize we are equals. 


Self-Help