The last few years have been. tough for most. Everyone wants to give help. This act of kindness is what makes us human. Being on the receiving end of this sort of generosity has been a real blessing. But there are far more people who want to give than actually do, and the ones that do, tend to have some sort of string attached and are almost always self-serving.
I thought I’d give you a little help on how to give and make this about them, not you.You don’t have to do or say anything.
You don’t have to do or say anything.
We all want to help, it’s in our nature. But you don’t have to do anything. If you are not in a position to do anything, then don’t feel obligated to say anything. Nothing is more frustrating to be on the end of than people trying to help by saying they want to, and they simply don’t. Don’t offer your help unless you really mean it
If you don’t know what to give, just ask.
If you feel you really want to give, then just ask. But. understand, this is hugely humiliating and humbling being in a tough spot. So ask how you can help. Ask how much or what they need. Then give what you can. Be it a small donation. Be it. words of advice. A call to someone who can help. No one should have to grovel no matter how desperate their situation. And while self-esteem is low, be kind enough to step up where you can. Lead them into feeling like they have your support.
Don’t say you want to help and don’t.
Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say you want to help. But you don’t. It’s easy to offer and then you don’t follow through. If you commit to something, this is not the time to forget. People needing your help are humiliated and it takes a lot to ask for help and even harder to accept help. Don’t waste their time and add to or prolong their suffering.
Sometimes just being there is enough.
I once had a friend ghost me when things went south, when I eventually confronted him, he said he didn’t know what to do when I’m like this. I was not asking for anything. I was just in a tough spot. I didn’t really know what to do. the kindest thing he could do was just be there for me. Tell me about your life, it’s a break from thinking about my own. Let’s not get carried away gloating about all the wins, there is probably some empathy you could show, but just sharing your goings-on, could make someone feel like they are still able to do something, even when they are going through a hard time, even if it’s only listening to you.
You could just listen.
You might not be in a position to do anything. We all have our own problems. We can only handle so much. So if you can’t, it’s okay. But some of the kindest things people have ever done for me is simply, just listen. Allowing me to be heard. Literally, nothing else has been amazing and got me through that day.
Don’t seek recognition.
Offering help, giving so generously is so amazing. But nothing makes you look like a bigger douche than bringing it up. Know one needs to know. You don’t need to remind people. You will be praised. Being kind does not need recognition. It might be recognised and you may receive praise. But don’t expect it. Do it because you’re able to, not because you need everyone to know you are.
Set reasonable expectations.
If there are some sort of terms or boundaries to your generosity, then be direct about them upfront and make them mutually agreeable. If you are giving, then give as you can, not how you expect them to be. If it’s a loan, then agree to when it should be paid back and how, but make sure you’re both comfortable.
Don’t make them feel guilty.
If you’re. going to generously give, but it might put you out a little, don’t rub it in their face. You open that door, that’s on you. Don’t make them feel guilty for accepting your help.
It’s about them, not you.
You give of yourself for others, not for you. Sure you might feel personal satisfaction in giving, but please don’t make it about you. Be kind to them. Put the focus on their needs. Not your own. Help them. Don’t help yourself.
It’s an act of kindness, not obligation.
You are not obligated to help. It is monumentally generous if you can. But if you cannot, just say so. Do what you can. You’re not obligated at all.
Give what you can.
Most of the time, people need money. Sure there are other needs, but nine times out of ten, people are struggling financially. But only give what you can. If you’re not in a position to give money, then dig deep and offer what you can give. It might be introducing them. It might be opening your home. It may be lending them your car. It may just be a call to see if you’re okay. There are many things you might be able to do that takes little or no effort on your part that might make the most meaningful impact on their lives.
Don’t tell people what to do.
I have a lot of successful friends. Their advice is super helpful and generous to give. But when someone is struggling, the last thing they need is people telling them what to do. They are in such a low place, so being told what they should do, like you’re in their shoes is just going too far. Have empathy. Give advice when asked for it. Offer up suggestions. Share your wisdom on how you might handle a similar situation. But don’t tell them what to do, unless they ask you to.
Beggars can’t be choosers.
I have heard this my entire life. Beggars can’t be choosers. No one deserves to be reduced to that. People you surround yourself with, are a reflection of you. Everyone can slip. Don’t make them feel like they have no choice. That does nothing to pick them up. Tough love is not giving them help. Sure people can be self-destructive, sure sometimes people need some cold hard truth, but no one needs to feel like they have nothing, so they should take what they can get.
Don’t take advantage of people.
Sometimes you have a need someone who is in a tough situation can help with. Pay them fairly, give generously and treat them respectfully. Nothing is more insulting than getting scraps, being abused because it’s easy to take advantage of their situation. Desperate people will go out of their way to repay you, don’t humiliate them further.
Do it because you can.
Give because you are fortunate enough to share your time, money, network, wisdom, and so on. Not for your personal gain. Because you want to. Because you’re kind. Because you can.
I have had a rough time over the last few years and I’d like to thank the family, friends, and strangers, really, everyone who helped me, but most especially these generous people who quite often had far less than most people I know, yet gave so much.
Angus & Lynda, Nadene, Sean, Innocent, Jose, Francis, Rafiek, Moratwe, and my Auntie Viv. Your generosity and kindness helped get me this far.