True Helpfulness

circleOfHands_smSince my father’s recent passing, my mother grapples with bill paying, grocery shopping, home maintenance, and getting gas, to name a few.  Since she lives in the Midwest of the U.S. and I live in Vermont, I help with physical matters during visits and financial ones as best I can remotely.  While part of me wants to bring short-term relief by taking on as much as I can for her, another more conscious part realizes over-involvement undermines us both.  I find it beneficial to ask what’s in her and my highest good when I need clarity on how to truly help.

Often clients report feeling burdened by helping others, especially family members.  The records consistently counsel not to give “at your own expense” meaning not to deplete yourself, emphasizing how your own health and well-being provide the foundation for your giving.  While extenuating circumstances may compel you to give beyond your normal comfort zone you must sustain yourself if you wish to help others effectively long-term.  This can particularly challenge anyone with discounted childhood wants, needs, and feelings.

It helps to tune into what you own around someone’s situation and to remind yourself everyone owns their own growth path.  Sometimes helping less ultimately helps more because it allows the person to master their challenges and build confidence.  If you frame it in terms of learning, what do each of you seek to develop, transcend, teach, and so on?  It helps to remember each of us elected a soul-specific curriculum when we incarnated.

Appropriate giving feels good, not burdensome.  Most people love to help when they can but giving can turn into resentment, exhaustion, and other negative conditions for both giver and receiver when it goes out of balance.

When does not helping or helping less arduously feel good?  Does saying no to excessive helping allow you to say yes to yourself?


  1. This is such an important post my friend!

    This is a bit of a paradox for some of us when it comes to being helpful and giving. Often times, for those of us that have spent our lives perhaps giving TOO MUCH in various ways (even in becoming caretakers in professional roles in healthcare as an example) at our own day find that we have needs of our own that we really do need help with. Yet tend to feel guilty for actually needing this much needed help!

    Other times, we are expected to give to people who haven’t learned to give much at all, and have spent most of their life taking or being taken care of in various ways.

    In a huge way, this was the sort of relationship I had with my own mom. She is very ill now and was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year. Where as at one point I would feel guilty when I couldn’t give all that was expected of me (and it tapped into all of those childhood wounds where I had raised myself instead of feeling like I had a mother), I’m now much more able to give to her without resentment. I give what I have and when I don’t have anything left to give, we as a family (my extended family members that are left) try to keep lines of communication open so we can all share the burden as much as possible.

    This is such an important topic, especially during this time for you. Sending you love and light my friend.



    • Hi Samantha,
      Thanks for sharing your experience and for your support! I’ve learned the hard way the effects of helping excessively and am lucky this latest experience came after I spent many years unraveling this pattern. The tug is still there but I can sit with it better and make more conscious choices. So much learning here!

      Best wishes to you and your family, especially your mother, during this difficult time!

      Much light and love to you too,
      Christy xo


  2. Hi Christy,

    A timely post and so powerful. I reread the following sentence several times: “While extenuating circumstances may compel you to give beyond your normal comfort zone you must sustain yourself if you wish to help others effectively long-term.” It reminds me of a sermon from an older (and wiser) priest who commented: “You can only give from a full cup.”

    My thoughts are with you and your mother. Take good care of yourself and keep your cup full.

    Joanne 🙂


  3. Wise words, Christy! And helpful for individuals whose family members use guilt and other emotional devices to garner attention. As you know, I frequently see messy family situations. I will direct people to this post!


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