Helpers Need Help Too
If you’ve chosen a career as a helper it’s easy to forget that helpers need help too, but if you lose sight of this fact your chances of burning out will go up dramatically. Often the motivation for wanting to be in a helping capacity is not having gotten the nurturing you vitally needed from your primary caregivers.
In this sense the career decision can be seen as a sort of balancing of the equation, a way to make things right by giving to others something you yourself didn’t get. It’s a noble solution, one that chooses to make lemonade out of lemons, finding constructive meaning in a difficult past by using it as the impetus to make the lives of others better.
But what should not be forgotten is that being in the helping role, constantly giving without expecting anything in return, would be exhausting for anyone and might be especially exhausting for you if you go into the situation secretly hoping that the hole you feel where that nurturing needed to be will get filled up by being a nurturer yourself.
There’s no question that people receive a great deal back from the people they help, that in the process of healing they are often also healed, but it’s worth stressing that you’ve got to leave the door open for receiving nurturing and support in other important relationships in your life outside of your chosen profession. It’s easy to come to feel like, as a helper, you’re the one who provides help and therefore you shouldn’t need it, but everyone needs help sometimes. We could say helpers especially need it, not only to experience in its true form what it is they needed all along, but also to recharge those batteries so that they can feel like they’re in a position to give of themselves freely and unselfishly.