Offering Help vs Offering to Help

I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern in my own life, and how I frequently offer advice or help unasked. When friends, family, or others choose to open up, or to vent about something that is bothersome in their lives, I seem to see it as an opportunity to provide solutions.

A few friends have called me out on this, but it’s gone fairly unabated until recently, when I chose to not help a moth that was fluttering, struggling, with wet wings outside my apartment. I realized that the assistance might actually hinder, or create further problems with its wings.

Wet moth

Choosing to let others’ paths and lives unfold as they would, unaided or unaffected by my own influence is empowering and eye opening. In fact, it only further lessens my social anxiety and need to feel like I “fit in”. By letting others live their own lives, I am free to live my own, unfettered by their judgement or perspectives. I see it as boats in a stream.. we all idly float by each other, and choosing not to cause ripples at a strangers bow only further lets me focus on what’s ahead of my own boat.

Conversely, I want to defend and strength this philosophy. Naturally it’s not absolute. There’s still space to offer to provide advice or help without actually doing so. It shows willingness and compassion: just don’t be insulted if you’re rebuffed. You also should be wary about re-extending the assistance on the same/similar topics. Even if your friend or loved one chooses to stumble and fall over the same obstacle repeatedly, all you can do is to be there to help pick them up when they open up.

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Belief: In yourself, your Dreams

People often harp on their continual search for the “motivation” they need to get started on whatever difficult tasks they have been procrastinating. It’s a little bizarre how this requirement for motivation is not only seen as the holy grail for conquering difficult or unwanted (yet necessary) tasks, but also common as an excuse for not taking the first steps towards not starting a new hobby or for realizing a lifelong dream.

To further define this behavior, it’s well documented that while motivation might indeed provide some sort of impetus to get started, it’s ensuring that well designed habits are ready to put into place to continue to fuel the path towards completion.

I have something further to add to this discussion, and that’s the importance, power, and requirement of belief.  I’ll go so far as to stipulate that it’s belief that is not only the precursor to motivation, but an essential additive that continues to increase the effectiveness of habits to continue our drive towards success and happiness.

Belief provides us with the confidence that what we want to achieve is, in fact, not only possible, but attainable. It allows us to see the value in hard work, the meditation in preparation, and creates an almost palpable, tactile desire to create the energy to keep moving forwards. Want an example? Think about something you’re already good at. Something you might even take for granted as so effortless that it comes as second nature. Got it? Ok. Now remember the last time it was called into play: when you were “called up to the plate” to either lead a group along with a task that you were uniquely qualified to spearhead, or even a when you were talking to someone about it and realized they were hanging onto every word. The passion you conveyed by your confidence and sheer unassuming knowledge and comfort in this area was inherently, if subconsciously, fueled by the unequivocal belief you had in yourself.

Now. Imagine something you know almost nothing about. Try to choose something that you have interest in, perhaps even have Googled a few times to try to understand. Imagine you could master it with the same level of comfort and ease of the previous example. No matter what this new desire is.. the only thing that’s standing in your way is your belief that you can achieve it. That’s right: this belief will let you visualize your goal, motivate the first step, generate the habits you need.. everything will fall into place: this belief in yourself will extinguish the fear that is stopping you from achieving success.

Let that sink in for a moment. The one thing standing between you and success is the belief in yourself.

But the best is yet to come… Belief isn’t as difficult to attain as some of the other obstacles you have in your life. Belief is something that can be it’s own habit.. Belief is something that should be practiced daily: Every morning, make a mantra out of your dreams and desires.. Tell yourself that you believe in yourself, and in your ability to make them happen. The very process of belief will banish the demons of doubt and fear – they cannot exist within such a sphere of positivity and self-assurance.