Existential Psychology

Helping Others

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A human irony is that many people become focused on helping others not because they feel like they’re doing really well in their own lives and want others to do well too but because at the deeper level of their beings, a level they don’t really want to admit to themselves, they feel like they’re not doing very well in their own lives.

For these types of individuals the isolation of problem areas in others and the offering of assistance to correct these problem areas is a projection. It’s easier and safer to see deficiencies in those around them than to see deficiencies in themselves. They secretly hope that by correcting the perceived deficiencies in those around them their own deficiencies will disappear and with it their despair will transform to happiness and fulfillment.

It’s an attempted shortcut to self-actualization to make everybody else the project instead of making ourselves the project. It’s a shortcut that never works because it turns the helping paradigm upside down. We can only help others when we’ve helped ourselves first. And when we’ve helped ourselves first we don’t feel the need to project our deficiencies onto others but can instead practice loving acceptance, a loving acceptance buoyed by the firm belief that those around us can grow, can save themselves with the proper support, since we have already grown and saved ourselves.

And then the final shift happens, which is that we stop feeling the need to give unsolicited advice. And almost magically the very people we used to feel compelled to give unsolicited advice to start coming to us for help on their own. Why? Because before at some level of their beings they were aware of the fraud, aware that the advice was coming from a place of felt inner deficiency, that it was a projection. But now what they sense is fulfilled, happy, self-actualized people and they’re drawn to it, they want to know the secret, they want access to that knowledge, and this makes them much more open to whatever it is we have to say.