Being of Service and Contributing to the Lives of Others
One of the greatest contributions we can give to others is to help them grow. We help them grow - by empowering them. Empowering them to make positive changes in their lives. They are able to do this, when they are able to gain new insights or shift their perceptions.
This requires an openness from both sides. When we truly wish to help someone empower themselves, we also have to be open and come from a loving place. I'm sure you've all experienced times when someone you know is seemingly trying to help you - but you can tell the other person is coming from their ego. They're trying to put themselves above you in some way - like in a position of power or that you owe them something. This can sometimes even happen unconsciously. But, ultimately, this only ends up disempowering the person being "helped."
And so, to truly help someone, we must empower them. Take, for example, the well-known proverb: "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Giving someone food when they're hungry is definitely a great thing - for the short-term. But they only become empowered when we teach them how to get food for themselves - so that they can eat on an ongoing basis.
So if we genuinely desire to be of service and contribute to the lives of others, we must learn how to not merely "fix" other people's problems for them - but rather teach them how to solve their own problems. "Fixing" others or not wanting others to experience pain often comes from a kind and well-meaninged place. But when it becomes a compulsion for someone - it typically signals an unmet need in their own lives or a void in themselves.
Check out my blog post "Feeling the Need to Always “Save” People" to delve deeper into understanding why we may sometimes feel a compulsion to save or fix others.
Truly helping others is about empowering them. It's the difference between loving others and merely saving them or bailing them out of their recurring problems. Truly helping others will always build them up to make them more confident and more self-sufficient.
Returning to the idea of openness, it's important to also notice whether the help we're providing is actually helping or not. Are the people we're trying to help - staying the same? Or are they truly receiving your help and therefore growing and making positive changes in their lives? Because we are only truly contributing to the lives of others when it's the latter.
So as the "helper" - we must recognize if the people we are trying to help are actually open to growing and receiving your assistance or not. Because if they're not open, or they're not ready - we can expend a lot of energy with little to no effect. In fact, we wouldn't be able to help no matter how much energy we poured into them. When this happens, the people we are trying to help can begin to feel like burdens to us. We can begin to feel like we are the ones taking responsibility for their lives. Which of course, isn't really a responsibility for us to take.
And so, if you are someone who wants to help and contribute to the lives of others, it's important to release responsibility for making other people's lives work for them. When you try to "fix" others who aren't open or ready, you only end up draining or tiring yourself out. Because when others are open to your help and are positively changing their lives because of your help - you will undoubtedly feel not only fulfilled but energized as well. There's an energetic exchange in the relationship that empowers both people.
Therefore to truly be of service to others, we need to have both compassion and a sense of non-attachment. Sometimes we need to let others go through their own lessons in the ways they need to experience them. Sometimes we just have to hold space for people and their suffering in order to help them grow and become stronger. In fact, often when we try to "fix" others - we are actually taking away their lessons and unwittingly slowing down their growth. They may end up becoming dependent on us and stop taking ownership of their actions and decisions altogether.
When we want to help others, it's important for us to ask ourselves whether it's even appropriate for us to give assistance. And if it is appropriate, we must determine how much energy we should put out. When people are truly ready to grow - it often doesn't require much energy at all for the other person to experience massive shifts - because there is no resistance.
And the more aware and skillful we become at helping others, the more we learn to sense what is the right timing, and what is the minimal amount of energy that we need to expend - to affect the greatest change. It is in this way that we learn how we can be of the greatest service to all the lives that we touch - in empowering them to create their highest vision of themselves. It is in this way that we collectively all experience the greatest fulfillment and joy.