Stop Role Playing

Day 28: How To Use What Others Have To Help Them Grow


You have a gift you’re probably not aware of.

Even if your own life isn’t perfect (and whose is?) you have the ability to help others overcome their obstacles.

We all know people who struggle with issues of self worth, are making efforts to change, or who allow life to beat them into submission. Though change has to come from within, you can help light their fire, and more importantly, give them the support they need to face their challenges.

Helping friends and family is just a friendly thing to do. Helping co-workers recognize their greatness can be a bit trickier (as you don’t want to cross lines of professionalism), but if done right, can turn a mediocre (but talented) worker into a stellar team leader.

Everyone has issues, but you have an advantage your issue-afflicted-friend doesn’t. You’re able to see her problems objectively, through another lens, not filtered by years of negative experiences and emotions. In short, you’re not weighed down by her baggage, and can, in many instances, see the right moves to make.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping others, here’s some suggestions you can use to help your friends change their lives for the better.

Accentuate the positive. Everyone has something they do well, some talent, or perhaps a feature which they should be proud of. If your friend is feeling worthless, remind her of what makes her so awesome.

Recognize the negative. While you want to focus on the positive, don’t do so at the expense of lying to your friend. We all need an honest person in our lives who isn’t afraid to tell us what we need to hear – even if we’re not yet ready to hear it. Recognize and acknowledge the actions your friend has taken which has led to their situation and help them take action in whatever way you can.

Give compliments. People love to be complimented. It’s when we don’t get compliments, when we feel like nobody cares, that resentment starts to build and seeps into our lives, creating friction where it might not otherwise be. You can grease a lot of rusty wheels by simply paying compliments to others in your life. I know this seems a bit self-serving, but as long as you are sincere in your compliments and not kissing butt, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of win-win?

Ask for help. If there’s something your friend does better than you, ask her for some help. Sometimes, helping others allows us to see our better qualities and reinforces positive feelings. Given a chance to do what we do well, helps us to grow our confidence.

Use past success to build future success. Sometimes people just need a reminder of their past achievements to shake them out of their current doldrums. Depending on the situation, you can drop a subtle clue to trigger their memories of a past success, or directly mention these successes. Perhaps you can examine what your friend did differently in the past. Perhaps there’s another issue at play – something she hadn’t even considered which is holding her back. Talking things out can help get her back on the road to success.

Helping others can be a tricky proposition. Sometimes people don’t want to be helped. Other times, you may be overstepping your boundaries by offering assistance. And sometimes people simply aren’t ready to change. Tread carefully when offering your services. But if you are respectful and your heart is in the right place, you may be just the support your friend needs to better their life!


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David Wright is a professional ghostwriter and cartoonist who blogs about fatherhood at Blogger Dad.