Why Lending a Helping Hand Sometimes Really Bites

Photo courtesy of ninasaurusrex
One day last week, while I was taking my lunch break, I looked out my front window to see a gigantic turtle lumbering across the sidewalk in the direction of the road. The amount that I love turtles is akin to the amount that Kristen Bell loves sloths. Yeah, it’s a borderline problem. For me. For Kristen Bell? There’s no borderline about it.

Given my passion for turtles, I made the impromptu decision to cut into my jam packed work schedule in order to protect this beast from himself. Off I ran, hair akimbo and with no concern for my crocs and socks footwear.  “I will save you from death, turtle friend!” I yelled. I pit-stopped at my mom’s house and panted at her that I needed help relocating a reptile. Knowing me as well as she does, she immediately understood that we were on a Turtle Mission and we continued onward toward salvation.

This is what we had to attempt to save.
Photo courtesy of slappytheseal

Admittedly, we were suddenly skeptical, and we wondered if this guy even slightly wanted our services. Happy to see us, he did not look. We vacillated between spending our time as it had previously been judiciously and pragmatically allotted, or attempting to preserve the life of what appeared to be the last living dinosaur who seemed pretty angry that no one told him about extinction. Ultimately, we threw caution to the wind and waved good bye to precious work hours in order to save a turtle.

Anky, as I now refer to him, was not one bit interested in our “help” and he did everything to rally against us at every turn. He thrashed his razor sharp claws and snapped his long fangs at us.  His thorny tail whipped through the air in warning when we approached. If we were there to assist him, he would prefer that we would just drop dead, thank you very much.

That got me thinking about all of the resistent people in our lives who we repeatedly try to help, to no avail. They respond similarly to Anky, except in a more passive aggressive manner. They make it clear that they are “heading toward disaster.” We offer a helping hand, which is forcefully pushed away. This cycle can go on indefinitely, repeating itself ad nauseum, until we finally wake up and make the connection that these people don’t want help; they want attention, and they’ll sabotage our work days, our productivity levels, and our own level of success to get it.

Before you sap precious energy that could be better spent improving your own life, determine whether or not your assistance is needed or even really wanted. You’ll learn to sort out people who really need you from those who only want attention. Trying to help the unhelpable is a waste of time that could be spent increasing your productivity or learning something new. Your time is valuable! Use it wisely.

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    • Craigdelli

      wow! That doesnt look like a regular box turtle. I am not sure if I would  have gone near that thing – he looks mean!

      • Adrienne McGuire

        In our infinite desire to want to help all living things, we gave it our heartiest attempt. Alas, not everyone (or thing) is ready to be helped.

      • Adrienne McGuire

        Also, craigdelli, it was a snapping turtle, much like those people in our lives who snap at us when we offer unwanted help or advice.

    • Amklin

      I am so guilty of this, though from experience I should really say imprisoned by it. It has proven to most Deffinitely be a waste of time in my experience so far, I know that in my gut because I know you can’t change people. They can only change themselves, common sense. But my heart still always tells me “if they could only be shown how things could be, maybe then…”. I also don’t like the idea of giving up on anyone.

      I like this analogy used because I like to hear one more turtle escaped doom, but when I compare it to people in my life who I feel need the same helping hand I see they, much like the turtle, don’t realize they need the “help” and need to be captured to be saved. No one wants to be miserable, I just can’t believe that.

      • Adrienne McGuire

        It is so true! Some people literally do need to be captured to be saved from themselves, and since we have neither the capabilities nor the authority to do that, we are better off focusing our energy where it can be better utilized and appreciated.

        • Amklin

          Absolutely better off. Completely get that. Just hate giving up! :)

    • Puzzled

      So, should we just give up on these people and see how they fall off a cliff?

      • Adrienne McGuire

        Interesting point. The people I’m referring to are those who repeatedly cry wolf and never take you up on the help you offer, which only leads to a false alarm and you wasting time which could have been better spent elsewhere. What is your take?

        • Puzzled

          Send an email.

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