When you see someone suffering, it is only natural to have the desire to help end their suffering. Although we may feel qualified to help others, we still may be met with resistance. It can even feel painful when we are faced with this same resistance from our families, friends, colleagues, etc. For many people, it feels easier to help someone you don’t know than those you live with.
It may feel difficult to help our loved ones because there may be a lack of trust somewhere in the relationship or the other party may not believe they are ready to receive your assistance. Sometimes we are asked for only one slice of help and yet we want to give them the whole cake. This can be overwhelming for the other, and it may diminish trust as you may have given them more than they asked for. It may be apparent that they need all the help that you can offer, but sometimes it is best to give them the slice they asked for. One slice is better than the crumbs at the bottom of the dish.
When a foundation of trust is established, others are more likely to accept a second slice of your love and help.They can trust you are giving it to them with no hidden agenda because you are giving it with a pure hand and intention. Having no expectation of receiving anything in return means that it is unconditional.The moment you decide to help others for something in return, it becomes polluted with a condition. Thus it becomes conditional. Remember there is a difference between asking someone for help and helping someone to receive help in return.
At this point in humanity, we have become quite skilled at “reading” each others soul and intentions. There is now a level of transparency in the world that cannot be paralleled by any other point in history.Although you may think your intentions are not obvious, others may see right through you, and sense the “hidden agenda”. So when you have a desire to help someone, review your intentions again before you offer it.
While on pilgrimage in Spain last year, I was feeling physically tired and I decided to sit on a bench in the middle of the village. Soon after, there was a woman that sat on a bench next to me and began talking with me. In the midst of our soulful conversation, a local man from the village walked over to us and offered the grapes he had in his hands. My new friend immediately accepted his gift. I questioned why he was so kind to offer them to us. At first, I did not give him a response but that did not stop him from meeting me halfway.
The profound moment was when he simply put the grapes next to me on the bench and walked away. While looking at my friend enjoying them, my heart opened up and I began to pick at the stem of grapes he gave me. They were some of the best grapes I have ever had in my life.
In retrospect, I realized it was not just the taste that made them great, but it was actually the pure love that they were given with. He simply wanted to give with no expectations. This was evident when he just left them there on the bench. What I learned from this profound experience is that sometimes we have to be willing to make our offer of help known and to just leave it in the other person’s presence.
At the moment, the other person’s door may be closed to your presence but there may come a point in the future where your help will be welcomed with open arms. It can feel difficult to help those we love when we exhaust our offer to them. It may feel like trying to move a building with no patience or progress. But if you take a moment to try to step in their shoes to understand why they would be resisting your help, it may help you see them in a different light. It can also help you better understand them as a person. With compassionate awareness and understanding, you will know how to better approach others when you wish to help them.