Helping Others

Helping others can help yourself.
Reverend Dexter councils Captain Sheridan in season 3 of Babylon 5.

We all have challenges and troubles in our lives. Sometimes we are overwhelmed. Sometimes we are broke. It can be hard to think about helping others at such a time, but I believe that such a time is exact time to think about helping others.

In the TV series Babylon 5, there is an excellent parable.

You know, before I got married, Emily used to come by sometimes and help me clean out my apartment. Well, I asked her, “How come you’re so eager to help clean up my place when your place is just as bad?” She said, “Because cleaning up your place helps me to forget what a mess I’ve made of mine, and…when I sweep my floor, all I’ve done is sweep my floor. But, when I help you clean up your place, I am helping you.”

Rev. Dexter, Babylon 5, Season 3, Episode 20

When you help yourself, you are just helping yourself. You are reminded of every limitation, every challenge, every flaw. When you help another, you see your power, your resources, your abilities in a new light. You see them from the perspective of another who needed your help to overcome their challenges.

Whether they needed a fresh set of eyes or particular skills or connections which only you can offer, you offered something indispensable. You feel empowered. You feel stronger.

Sometimes when I feel stuck, I’ll make a post on social media asking people to share their problems with me so that I might take a crack at solving them. While it is a nice thing to do, it’s not altruistic. It’s for me. It helps me get unstuck. I solve some problems for others, and it resets my spirit to take on my own challenges.

Solving the problems of another gives you a new perspective. It provides new energy. And, it is not unheard of for the process of doing something for another to open a door which solves that which you could not solve before.

So, if you are feeling stuck in your own rut, try pulling someone else out of theirs. The worst that can happen is you let a friend know you care. The best is that you might find a way out of your own rut.

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