A Course in Miracles Blog

Why trying to help others can take away their power

  • By Paul West
  • 747 Words
  • 3 minutes 44 seconds
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Sometimes when we're trying to help others, we are taking away their power.

It is more important to help the person become self-empowered, to learn that they can do what they seemed to need help with, even if its a struggle.

It can seem very caring and supportive to be helpful. It can seem like your heart is in the right place and that you're being loving. It can seem like you'd want to bend over backwards to do whatever you can for someone.

But when you do this, you take away their power, strip them of their independence, and don't give them breathing room to learn to harness their own strength.

By trying to help, you end up making the person helpless. By trying to save, you end up condemning the person to a state of neediness and weakness. By trying to be the hero, you end up squashing the very person you were supposedly rescuing. And by trying to fix them, you break them more.

It's okay to help sometimes when it clearly is needed. And I don't mean it to sound like you have to be cold-hearted and ruthless and completely refuse to do anything for anyone. It's just that, it's very easy to erode someone's sense of self empowerment.

The side effect of this also is that, by supposedly helping them, which is in fact a form of disabling them, you take away their power and make them dependent on you. You will resent this dependence even though part of you keeps fostering it.

You will become responsible for their life, and see them as being irresponsible, which will make you angry. But you'll use this to justify being even more helpful. And now that the person is totally dependent on you, you'll find yourself having to do everything for them, leaving no time for yourself.

It's like the old adage that you don't take water to Africa, you give them tools to harvest the water themselves.

When you come swooping in to save people, you are being a hero and you have a "savior complex". It can seem very nice to your ego, to your persona, to be a savior to others. But this is not really salvation. It seems like you are being selfless, but in fact you are being selfish, because underneath the exterior of helpfulness is the ego's ambition to help so much that the other person ends up unable to do anything themselves. And it is therefore an attack.

Salvation would recognize the person has no real needs, that they merely need to become aware of their dependence on God, and that focusing on their weaknesses and helplessness fails to overlook it to the true strength within. And that means not only that you are failing to forgive, you are also in judgement. And not only are you in judgement against them, you are in judgement against yourself.

If you are being the heroic helpful savior fixer, the unlimited giver, the people-pleasing guilt-ridden solution to everyone's problems, you're really interacting with yourself and trying to save yourself, by not saving yourself. It's a cover-up job for real salvation. It's your way of looking like you're coming from love when in fact you're coming from "special love" - a dependency and a state of ego reinforcement.

You'll just find yourself making people depend on you more, allowing them to use you, causing them to get comfortable with not being responsible for their own choices, which ultimately makes you guilty. And before you know it, the person you were trying to bend over backwards to help turns into a leech that expects you to cater to their every whim. This is because you're not learning the lesson.

You need to learn to let go, stop fixing, stop focusing on neediness, and instead focus on providing a true extension of love, an empowering sense of love, which produces corrective miracles that actually are truly helpful. It is helpful to reinforce the truth about a person, that they are Christ, that they are powerful, that they are not victims, that they are responsible for their existence, and that really they have no real needs.

"I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do,
because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal." - ACIM
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