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Opinion, Self-Improvement

The True Meaning of Helping: Why Seeking Gratitude Shouldn’t Be the Goal

Hand holding hand helping


It’s natural to have a desire to be a hero and help those in need. Whether it’s lending a hand to a friend in need or volunteering in the community, helping others is a way to make a difference and feel good about oneself. However, the reality of helping is not always as simple as it seems.

It’s no secret that help is rarely unconditional and selfless. There is always some underlying motive, even if it’s just the desire to be someone’s hero. But in our quest to be heroes, we often forget one important rule – to leave as soon as the job is done.

While it can be tempting to stick around and listen to words of gratitude and appreciation, especially from a stranger, this can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can boost our self-esteem and make us feel worthwhile. On the other hand, it can also create false expectations and misconceptions about our true character.

When we help someone, we become the source of their happiness and they are often full of praises for us. But the problem is that these praises are based solely on our one act of kindness. Deep down, we know that this is not an accurate reflection of our entire personality. Just imagine if someone judged your entire character based on one mistake – you wouldn’t like it, right?

Unfortunately, the person we are helping is also making the same mistake. They are viewing us through a narrow lens based on that one good deed, and it’s easy to become caught up in that perception. But living in this delusion for too long can have consequences.

We may be able to maintain this “good image” for a while by exhibiting a pattern of helpful behavior, but because it’s not our true self, we are bound to break the pattern at some point. And when we do, even if it’s just a small mistake, the other person may not be able to accept it because we were supposed to be their hero. This small mistake can trigger a chain reaction of mistakes in their eyes, and before we know it, we have broken expectations, promises, or even someone’s heart.

The solution is simple – leave as soon as our help is no longer needed. This will not only save us from the embarrassment of breaking the illusion, but it will also allow the beneficiary of our help to hold onto the gratitude for longer. And, as a rule of thumb, good deeds are forgotten faster than mistakes, so there’s no point dwelling on them for too long.

The next time you have the opportunity to help someone, remember to play it safe and leave as soon as the job is done – just like a superhero! But more importantly, remember that the true meaning of helping is not about seeking gratitude or recognition. It’s about making a difference and being there for others, without any expectations or ulterior motives.

The satisfaction of making a positive impact on someone’s life is reward enough. And even if it goes unnoticed, that doesn’t diminish the impact you made. So, go ahead and help others, but do it for the right reasons. Be there for someone because you want to, not because you want to be seen as a hero. The act of kindness in and of itself is what truly makes you a hero.

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