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Healthy Helping without Hurting Yourself

Morgana in TreeIf you’re somebody who has an urge–even a compulsion–to help others, this article is for you.

Because sometimes that impulse to help backfires and blows up in our face.

You’ve noticed that, haven’t you?

Healthy helping can be a real challenge. I’ve been having this conversation all month with coaches, parents, artists, entrepreneurs, and tech company CEOs.

Especially as we move deeper into living lives focused on Love and Legacy, this question comes up more and more: “How do I help others without hurting myself?”

Unhealthy helping feels terrible. That’s how we know it’s unhealthy. Perhaps you feel used, burnt out, taken advantage of, or without choice… as if you have to sacrifice your own well-being or be a bad person.

Ick! Ick! Ick!

This dynamic totally sucks. And your “Money Honey” doesn’t dig it either.

Remember, nothing is more attractive to all forms of abundance than authentic self-love and self-care, and harming yourself is not loving!

Here’s my quick-and-easy tip for staying in the healthy zone when helping…

Ask yourself: “Am I helping, or am I rescuing?”

There is a difference.

Helping comes from a place of love and respect. We don’t do the work for another person. We don’t deprive them of their life lessons. But we do invest (time/attention/effort/resources) to assist in their expression of their full potential.

Rescuing feels different. There’s less respect for the resourcefulness of the other person. Rescuing is more fear driven. Either we fear the other is not capable, or we fear we won’t be loved or won’t be a good person if we don’t do their work for them, or protect them from the consequences of their actions… Often it feels like we don’t have a choice. In the end we’re stealing another person’s learning experience. That’s why I call this “unhealthy helping.”

How to Recover from Unhealthy Helping

1. Forgiveness.
If you helped in an unhealthy way and you’re feeling burned as a result, forgive yourself first. We humans are remarkably capable of beating ourselves up when we’re feeling down.
Forgive yourself for not setting better boundaries. Forgive and love yourself! And thank the other person (in your mind) for teaching you a valuable lesson about taking better care of yourself.

2. Pleasure.
Double down on self care! Take a bath, get a massage, take a walk, go to yoga class, dance, paint… do whatever it is that gets YOU in your body and in your pleasure. (Post ideas in the comments section below.) For my women clients I tell them to “activate their Aphrodite”–that feminine archetype of pleasure, beauty, self-care, and receptivity. Allow yourself to RECEIVE.

3. Master the art of saying No.
For one week, make “no” your default response to requests. Count how many times you can say no daily, and reward yourself:

  • Say it to 1 request today and you get a reward.
  • Say it to 5 requests today and you get a bigger reward.

No is a complete sentence. It needs no explanation or justification. You can be a good person and say no. You can be loved and say no. Just exercise that muscle and see.

Ultimately helping is essential. No one succeeded in anything, including getting born, without help. We don’t want to stop helping! Instead, we want to protect that impulse to help by setting your own healthy boundaries, first.

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  1. Kelly Rudolph
    August 8, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Great article, Morgana! Thank you. I’ve been discussing this with my audience lately too for the very same reason. Getting our needs for connection and significance met by over helping does both people a disservice. I’ll share your post with them. You ROCK!

    • Morgana
      August 8, 2016 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Kelly!

  2. clarita
    August 8, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    will practice to say more “no” for a week

  3. Prema
    August 8, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Awesome Article Morgana ..I think a lot of need to know this. Valuable piece of information. Thank you

  4. Danielle
    June 27, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Great article Morgana, this is my global message on “conscious self-care” explained in short… So many of us (mostly Highly Sensitive people) have this inner urge to help/save/care for everybody… if we do not set healthy boundaries, it is destructive, indeed!
    Thank you for bringing this message to other’s awareness, and I will continue to spread it as I have been doing for the last 20 years! Thank you!

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