Help, I Need Somebody!

Humans aren’t often very good at getting their needs met. It’s easier to let ego take over, to pretend that everything’s fine and that you’re impervious to the world around you getting you down. To admit that you need, to admit that you feel, to admit that you struggle; isn’t it just easier to say “I’m fine”? Nothing can bother you when you’re fine, because if something was bothering you, well then you wouldn’t be fine. And that just doesn’t line up now, does it?

I’m sure anyone who’s read any of my posts before or even knows just very little about me will already know that I’m not really an “I’m fine” kinda’ gal. I don’t believe in the pretense of false contentment. I will always choose the path that allows me to have my needs and struggles open for the world to see. A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved, as I heard the other day, and I tend to believe it.

As a person who’s very aware about what I need from the world and the people that exist in mine, I’m also acutely aware of what it’s like to not have those needs met whether it’s due to oblivious behaviour, intentional malice, or simple ignorance. Frustrating would be one word for it. So here’s some thoughts on how to deal with things when you’re needed by another.

Self-care and knowing your limits is important

If you can’t help? Say so. If you’re burnt out? Say so. Put that ego aside and be as clear as you possibly can from the get-go about where your head’s at. There will be times when it might be required of you to sacrifice your own needs for a while, but make sure that if you do, you’re aware of your limits. Because if you reach those limits and don’t convey that to the other person, and they think they can lean on you when you have nothing left to give, you’re looking to create a disastrous situation for everyone involved.

You don’t deserve a medal for choosing the wrong thing

If you’ve been told clearly what a partner needs, (whether it’s emotionally, physically, sexually, or otherwise), you don’t deserve praise for choosing an alternate path of action just because you feel it’s a better option. If it comes down to a simple misunderstanding, maybe you didn’t hear them right or maybe they didn’t clearly communicate the specifics well enough, that’s one thing. But if you’ve been told “I need this blue pill at 6 pm every day” and you provide them with the green pill at 5:45 because you think it’s close enough, you might as well not bother.

Good intentions aren’t an excuse to be lazy

When we’re offering help to another person but that help doesn’t line up with what’s required, it can be easy to feel self-gratification because “Well, at least I tried.” And yes, trying to help is good, especially if the other person is either incapable or hasn’t had the opportunity yet to relay their needs to you. Trying and putting in effort is good. Wanting to help is amazing. But that doesn’t mean that just because you’re trying that it’s enough. What’s the point of trying to help if you’re not bothering to find out what help is required?

You don’t get to be defensive for getting it wrong

It’s not helpful to make a big stink and get your back up when the person needing help tries to clarify with you what their specific needs are, especially if they don’t line up with the help that you’re offering. Yes, it’s great that you tried, but if what you’re offering just runs parallel to what they’re looking for and the two never intersect, then you have to find a way to work together to line up your assistance and their requirements. If you don’t meet in the middle, you’ll constantly be feeling as though you are helping, and they’ll constantly be feeling as though you’re not listening. Accept the fact that it’s ok that you got it wrong and try to listen to them as they explain again what they’re really looking for.

It’s ok to get it wrong and it’s ok to have needs in the first place. It doesn’t take much to meet in the middle and have everyone feel supported and heard. A little effort, patience, and understanding can really go a long way.