Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve done my best to be as helpful to others as I can. I’ve always wondered where this behaviour stemmed from. I like to think that it stemmed from my belief that if people in the world would put each other’s necessities ahead of their own personal interests, we could all come out ahead. Not to say, ignore your own personal needs, however if you have everything you need in life and can choose between something nice for yourself or helping someone who is struggling, maybe help the person who is struggling. Basically to change the order of the saying ‘looking out for number one’ so the order starts with 1. Other people and then 2.Our own personal interests. I can’t say I’ve always done that but I have put myself in situations where I’ve thrown myself to the hounds in order to make sure someone else is stable and I can’t say I’ve ever regretted it because whenever I’ve been down and out, someone has always been there for me and that’s a really great feeling that should be shared.
However I know I adopted that belief from continuously helping others so it is not the root of why I am willing to help others so readily even if it sets me back, so I’ve had to look back farther to my childhood. I believe my helpfulness trait comes from growing up and seeing a lot of the opposite. I grew up in a poorer part of my city where there are a lot of lower income families struggling to get ahead. Unfortunately it’s almost ingrained in you that you shouldn’t consider others if you ever want to get ahead, ‘got to look out for number one’. Because of that mentality I’ve watched people neglect others when they were in need not because they couldn’t help but because they seemed to choose not to because they might put themselves out. I believe because I’ve seen selfishness and seen how it can make another feel, I chose that I would not be like that, and if I have to sacrifice something small like watching football on Sunday to help someone out, that it would be a no-brainer for me where I’ve seen others say no.
So the way I grew up and saw others treat people shaped my trait of being helpful but I have to reflect on what that means. I know I’m helpful, and I know why I’m helpful, but is my helpfulness always a good thing? How do I determine if I’m starting to sacrifice my own needs for others? The one thing I’ve determined from these questions is that I haven’t cared enough about my future needs in order to be happy and successful, because I’ve continuously sacrificed them to make sure others had their happiness and success in their future. It’s not that I should stop helping others achieve that success and happiness, but I definitely need to be more mindful of my own future and stop jeopardising my happiness.