Help Someone Else
By Dr. Ron Ross
When you’re stuck in the mud you are totally focused on your own miserable situation. You pay little attention to the pain or despair of anyone else. You think you are the only person with a problem like this and that it is the worst that it could possibly be.
You’re wrong on two counts. First of all, you are not the only person that has encountered the problems you now have; many have gone before you and survived. Second, it is not the worst it could possibly be; things may get much worse before they improve.
You may be stuck where you are for some time depending on your circumstances, so what are you to do in the meantime? Wallow, whine, and lose hope are three possibilities. Many have done just that, but is that what you want?
Let me suggest a fourth: help someone else.
Sometimes, in the midst of your own pain, it is a good idea to look for someone worse off than you are and find a way to help them.
Many a dying cancer patient has used their last few weeks on earth to bring hope and cheer to others. Many truly poor people have found great joy in offering financial aid to someone poorer than themselves.
It is not necessary that you do earth shaking, world impacting deeds that will help thousands and be recognized by millions. I’m talking about simple, person-to-person touches that will make someone else’s pilgrim journey a little lighter.
You probably won’t ever be as good at helping others as Mother Theresa was at helping thousands of dying cast-a-ways in India. Neither of us will likely ever lead a great cause that results in the discovery of a miracle medicine such as Dr. Jonas Salk did when he invented a vaccine that stopped the spread of polio.
Great opportunities to help the multitudes comes to only a few; but a multitude of opportunities to help the few come to many. So you can help the person next door or the folks across town even though you cannot save the world.
After all, it’s what life is all about. When you were born, if it wasn’t for the help of someone else, usually your mother, you would not have lived for long. As you grew, if it wasn’t for the help of teachers, both those who taught you how to live and those who taught you how to read, etc., your life would be less full. Even today, if it wasn’t for the help of others all of our lives would be empty and without meaning.
Also, there is some self-interest in helping others: it takes the focus off of your own pain and misery for at lest a moment. And even if you are stuck in the mud, you will stand taller if you are willing to stoop to help someone less fortunate than yourself.
For feedback write to Dr. Ross: [email protected].