Are you OK with being used?


“People know who they can walk over and who they can’t. If someone is walking all over you it’s because they KNOW you’ll put up with it”. – Sonya Parker


Helping others is noble and helps us in our understanding of ourselves. But we need to be careful that we are not doing we do not to seek validation from others in how great and ‘good’ we are as that way we get taken advantage of – if we are ready to help and are always ‘there’ for others and we will get used and abused.

We may consider people we help or wish to help as members of our extended family (regardless if they are or not) but to many we are just a tool for them to get further, rise higher on our backs, climb socially, look powerful, earn more, look well connected in the eyes of others. I am not saying this is wrong – but simply to understand we may want to be ‘good’ but this does not mean others will be good for us.

What works for me is the concept of ‘Pay It Forward’. When I do something for someone and they wish to give me something in return – I simply get them to Pay it Forward – help someone else. This way we do not burden my ego with attachment to others ‘goodness’ towards me. Pay it Forward means once we help another and in turn they wish to pay or give us a gift we simply ask them to pass this good deed to someone else. So the one we have helped doesn’t ‘owe’ us something in return.

“The greatest effects we have on the world are the ones we can never see.” – Chris Matakas

Everything we do – positive or negative – has an effect on us and others however small. We help because its the right thing to do but we all have a positive and negative side. Ask yourself when reaching out to assist – is it to distract you from something else going on in your life or your offer of help for a real detached reason?

I am not saying don’t help others – rather understand why you are eager to help another. In understanding our own reasons for wanting to help and understanding the mindset of those you wish to help – there will be less of a chance of being taken advantage of by others.

“Even The Most Caring People Can Get Tired Of Being Taken For Granted.” – Nishan Panwar

Helping should not be a ‘crutch’ to validate our existence in the eyes of others – society is not the reason for your life, you are the reason for your life – what I mean is we are all here for a purpose and that purpose is certainly not as slaves for others, don’t become a slave to others and don’t enslave others. We need to live outside of who we think we are or who we wish to be. We need no validation from others and if it comes – pass it on, pay it forward. Detach.

Our elders thought us never to give unsolicited advice, nor try to help anyone unless they ask us for it. This is not coldness its just realistic advice. A random act of kindness can change someone’s life no doubt, but it may also destroy it. There will be those who we will help and in turn they will escape their own responsibility for their own lives. When we are always there for others we may get used without a thought on their part. Its time to summon our strength and be ready to terminate our help. Helping means promoting others’ independence and life progress; not stunting them.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

Many do good for others and want to feel good and valued themselves – there is nothing wrong with that but understand that your life is yours and others lives are theirs – we all have value.

Its natural when we see others in difficulty our impulse is to reach out. Yes be selfless and guide others to be selfless. Being selfish or getting taken advantage of by the selfish is something we should avoid.

On a walk, a man found a chrysalis hanging delicately from a branch. As he admired it, it started to move and a small opening appeared and the butterfly struggled to free itself The man feeling sorry for it decided to help the butterfly, and with a small knife he gently slit open the chrysalis allowing the butterfly to emerge easily. The butterfly broke free, only to wilt over in a completely motionless state in his hand. Its tiny swollen body and shriveled wings withered and deformed. The man continued to watch waiting for the moment the wings would unfurl, expand and enlarge enough to support the still limp body, enabling the butterfly to get up, but he waited in vain. Instead the butterfly spend the remainder of its short existence, crawling awkwardly, dragging its fragile body and shriveled wings and never able to fly. ” – The Story of the Butterfly & The Helpful Man

Our lives have struggles and obstacles. Trials are there to make us stronger. Some of the best lessons we learn are through striving, pain and suffering. Each of us have individual lessons we must go through. This not to say that we should ignore the pain or suffering of others but rather give them space, time and let them find the energy themselves to develop and rise up stronger.

Do not rush in like a knight in shining armour or you may end up destroying the one you are rushing in to help.

We must be ready to help from a position of balance and detachment. Take a breath, observe the situation, understand your emotions. Is “helping” the ‘other’ what the other needs or do you wish to be seen as ‘great’? Do you want some ‘reward’ verbal or material? Detach and observe. Do not replace what is going on their path where they are learning their lesson – with your own ego, this is their battle not yours.

We need to pull back from “helping” that isn’t helpful to ourselves or the other person and is more about us proving to others what a great, selfless and nice person we are. This is not helping but taking advantage of the other for ourselves to feel appreciated, loved and validated.

“You can’t always be nice. That’s how people take advantage of you. Sometimes you have to set boundaries.” – Ritu Ghatourey

Don’t neglect your own deeper needs and look for similar signs in those around you like relatives, family members, spouses, friends and foes who maybe taking advantage of your helpful nature.

We all have different abilities and views on life and situations – regardless even if we are co-joined twins. We will still see a situation from our own viewpoint. We have different feelings, minds and strengths. Let the other person be. Yes we all need another to cope with a situation – we are human not unemotional robots, thats fine there is no shame in asking for help or offering to assist but look at the picture with clarity. If you must… make a move in a helpful and detached way.

Focus on building others confidence, self worth, self – responsibility and be wary of seeking to control them or redirect their lives. Listen to others – not in waiting to respond but simply hear and understand the other persons point of view. Know that are not their psychologist or psychiatrist.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” – Lao Tzu

Set boundaries for your help and set boundaries for those who seek to use your good nature as their crutch. Lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect and it’s not your job to make others happy.

You can follow me on twitter, facebook, linkedin, youtube as well as email me.

Mohammed Abbasi

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