Sunday, November 19, 2006

Helping & Helpless

This (super-short) post by RenReb reminds me of a thought I've had many times, particularly about something from a few months ago...

I think that one of the worst feelings a person could have is helplessness. I've always liked helping people, and - over the course of my life - I think I've done a decent job of helping people. (Yay me!) But I've always hated the times where I knew that I simply couldn't help, or where helping involved doing absolutely nothing - just staying out of the way while the worst would pass.

Then there are the times where you do help, or try to help, but it doesn't pan out - whether helping someone make a connection, find a job, find an apartment, even find a shidduch, or the like. While you've done what you could, you feel as if there was more you could have or should have done [however illogical or untrue] to help the person. In some cases, it works out anyway - they find another apartment, another job, another person to fill the position - and the feeling passes. In other cases, you know that the person is still looking, still struggling... and while you would love to help, you simply cannot. You just don't have the ability, the connections, the skills, or maybe just the time necessary to help the person. Of course, it eats at you and eats at you, and while the person would laugh at how ridiculous the idea is - "You were trying to do me a favor!" you still have that nagging guilt that you could have done more, that utter feeling of helplessness that you failed in helping this person.

The best feeling in the world is when you know you've made someone else smile or helped someone be just a bit happier, or a little less stressed. When you know you can't do that, it stinks.

I'm sorry.


  1. it's hard when there's nothing you can do sometimes. i've been thinking about this very issue a lot lately.

  2. So true, I always wish I was a millionaire but sometimes the only reason I wish it, is that it would enable me to help someone I cannot help in my current situation.
    Another major 'stinker' is when you want to help but you don't how to offer your help for fear of insulting the person for e.g.

  3. Ezzie: this feeling becomes most true with your children. You will see as Elianna grows, how hard those moments will be when you want to help but can't. (this is not meant to scare is a reality of being a parent).

  4. Batya - :(

    Sarah - Life is rough sometimes...

    Prag - Amen to that. And yes, that is difficult as well, but at least there you can gauge somewhat how to do it...

    CM - I know, thanks. But at least there you understand a bit better why you can't help.