How to help others without harming ourselves?

In the morning of 20180204, I learned from a colleague, who is a certified first aider, if we try to give a CPR to someone at workplace and s/he unfortunately passes away, we will be criminally liable. A rule to remember here: do not touch anyone (especially your clients) who is not your family member  and if our clients faint or experience seizures, we must not touch them but to quickly seek help from the security guard. We can prevent any possible injury by moving things away from our clients.

In a preparation for the arrival of Little Princess on 20180211, at the night of 20180204, our kind Little Prince was trying to help his mama to setup a new Hauck playpen (designed in Germany, made in China) and accidentally hurt his middle finger. While I was thankful that we bought the playpen relatively inexpensive, the experience served as a reminder that we must be careful and stay safe!

The experience also reminded me on a meeting with a former mentor (who thought that once a student, we will be his students forever). He highlighted to me that it’s not enough to teach my children to be kind, otherwise others will take advantages of them for being too kind.

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own (riches).” ~Benjamin Disraeli

To help others without harming ourselves:

  1. Remember that our love- and compassion-originated intention to help others will always be helpful, whether or not we feel we are doing enough.
  2. Remember that we cannot help someone who is not taking responsibility for helping himself/herself.
    1. Some people may take our help for granted.
  3. When someone asks for our help, before we say yes:
    1. ask ourselves what’s the cost to us in terms of time [1], energy, money
    2. Sometimes by saying no and doing nothing, we are giving them a chance to take responsibility for their own lives and help themselves.
  4. To help others, we must not compromise or overextend ourselves energetically, emotionally, financially.
  5. Remember that helping someone != fixing them.
    1. We don’t know what is the best for another person.
    2. We don’t know what life has in store for them.
    3. We cannot shortchange his/her learning process.
  6. We can also help by accepting others as they are and where they are on their life’s path, as it may be what they need to become more aware of themselves. Benjamin Franklin reflected that “there are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.
  7. Detach ourselves from the outcomes of our helping.
    1. We may have expectations of what someone would become, make better decisions, or do with their lives following our help, yet what is good for them may not be what we expect.
  8. When we are trying to help someone, we have to have humor, self-existing humor, and we have to hold the moth in our hand, but not let it go into the flame.


[1] Time is one of the best gifts we can give to others.


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