Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What you should never do for the others

"A man found a cocoon butterfly lying in the road and took him home to protect it. He put it for safekeeping but the next day he noticed that there was a small hole, looking better he saw that the little butterfly was struggling to emerge from the cocoon.

He spent several hours watching the butterfly struggle trying to pass his body through that little hole. However, suddenly the butterfly stopped fighting, it seemed as if it had surrendered or jammed. The man felt much grief and, with great delicacy, enlarged the hole for the butterfly to leave.

Finally, the butterfly came out but her body was swollen and small, and had shriveled wings too. The man thought that was normal and continued watching, hoping the swelling remitted and butterfly would open its wings and start to fly. But no, the poor butterfly just crawled in circles and never got to fly."

What that man did not know was that the struggle of the butterfly leaving the cocoon was necessary for her body fluids to pass to her wings. During this process, a fluid called hemolymph is pumped from the body into the wings, causing them to gradually stretch to reach an adequate size. Only in this way the butterfly can be ready to fly. Thus, in an attempt to help, the man snatched the chance to fly of the butterfly.

Sometimes, to help, we should remain aside

This fable tells us that some obstacles are sometimes necessary because they help us become resilient people. Throughout life, everyone must make their own mistakes to learn from them and grow. If we intervene and resolve the problems in place, we will be taking away a learning opportunity which can then be invaluable. Therefore, in some circumstances, the best help is to stay out.

As a rule, life will pose different challenges to us to prove our current capabilities but, at the same time to force us to grow and develop our potential. Each stage of our existence introduces different challenges that are preparing us for the next phase. However, if we always have someone to solve the problems for us, we face the risk that when we’ll be alone, without anyone to help, we won’t have the resources needed to address this particular problem and this we’ll overcome us.

For example, the mother who always stands up for his son when he’s having problems with other children, is doing him a favor on the short term but ultimately is preventing him to develop social skills, so that when he grows up, he’ll be an adult with a poor Emotional Intelligence and with difficulties about relating to others.

Similarly, there are situations that doesn’t demand our direct intervention but simply our emotional support. There are problems we can’t solve for others but we can support them as they do it, letting them know we are on their side. In fact, for how much we love a person, we can’t carry his/her suffering and not to mourn in place, it's something they have to do by themselves.

When we should intervene?

If a person has always someone who solves problems for him/her, he/she will become an emotional cripple. A life without obstacles doesn’t allow to grow, in fact, it doesn’t even let us really know who we are by the moment we discover how far we are able to go only when we are in extreme situations. Take a short cut, having others to solve our problems is rarely the best way. It’s true that we could arrive first, but if the next race will be intense we’ll abandon midway because we won’t be prepared.

Therefore, do not do for others what they can do for themselves. If you behave so overprotective, you will help that person never spread their wings and rob him/her one of its most valuable treasures: the possibility to know and test their potential.

Also, be always prepared for helping others to solve their problems even at the expense of our own needs can be a double-edged sword, because doing so we contribute to create selfish people claiming us to be always at their disposal. Therefore, probably they won’t even know how to appreciate the great sacrifices we made for them.

The secret lies in offering our help when someone really needs it, when his/her psychological or physical resources do not allow that person to go ahead alone. Even so, our help almost never should be solving the problem completely, but it should give that person the necessary tools to solve it or help that person find its own way. Remember that if you give a man a fish you kill his hunger for that day but if you teach him to fish, he won’t be hungry anymore.

It may be that at first, the person who believes to need your help don’t understand your position, but later will understand and appreciate your contribution. Meanwhile, just give him your emotional support.


Keep feeding your neurons

What you should never do for the others
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Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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