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4 Reasons Not To be Helpful

You’re procrastinating

We want to be seen as helpful and willing to go the extra mile at work. But often we “help” as a way to procrastinate our own work. It’s easy to justify our behaviour because we want to be seen as part of the team. When we procrastinate our own tasks we put ourselves under pressure to achieve deadlines. Even if a task doesn’t seem time sensitive, pushing tasks further down our to-do lists is just self-sabotage.  While procrastination is often seen as intentional, it can become habitual even when we know it might have negative consequences. This tendency to delay tasks stems from fear of failure and an addiction to drama.

You’re people pleasing

It feels like an achievement to make someone else’s life easier. Our good intentions are twisted into a desperate need for affirmation and a cycle of people pleasing. This might seem incredibly harsh, but if you are taking work home every night because you lightened someone else’s load, you’re in trouble lady. This can just as easily happen at home as we juggle being the perfect partner and parent, which just leads to burn out. Just like they tell you in every pre-flight briefing, put your oxygen mask on first, before helping anyone else. The minute we start neglecting our own work / leisure/ exercise/ self-care because of another person, we’re in crisis.

You’re enabling

The concept of “It’s easier just to do it myself” creeps up on us so effortlessly, especially with our kids. It is our responsibility to share knowledge and skills, but instead we tend to concede because it feels like less bother. Teaching someone to do something themselves might take extra time the first couple of times, but think of the time saving in the big picture. We only do others a disservice by not delegating. A key learning in terms of boundaries teaches us that we should be responsible to others but not responsible for them. We turn up, we share, we don’t just take their burdens away.

You’re self-seeking

The age old adage of “You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours” rarely rings true or sincere. Often we help others while secretly hoping that they will help us in a crunch too. This is bull. The sooner we realise that we can’t have expectations of others, the better. If we act, apologise or compliment with the hope of reciprocation or praise, we will be disappointed. Another side of this coin is that we as rescuers can come across as being so capable that we don’t need the help of others. Anything that we do needs to come from a place of gratitude and a servant heart, then our actions are sincere and without agenda. Having a servant heart doesn’t mean that we need to let people walk all over us (see the above point on enabling).

Photo credit: Toa Heftiba via Unsplash


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