A Helping Hand

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful,to be honorable, to be compassionate.”

“Love is not a theory or merely talk; it is action.” I’ve read books, searched the Internet, and been very aggressive on my own journey to find creative ways to incorporate this theme of loving people into my everyday life. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned, but I also want to encourage you to be creative and then share your ideas with others. Now, I get excited when I purposely think and talk about ways to help someone else. There won’t be a Love Revolution if we don’t do things on purpose to help others. We must have goals and press toward meeting them.

Start believing today that you are a rare, one-of-a-kind, valuable and precious person. To help you learn how to be successful at being yourself, I want to give you some easy-to-follow suggestions:

The three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge and pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching even to the verge of despair.

I have sought love, first because it brings ecstasy, ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed the rest of my life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it; next because it relieves loneliness, that terrible loneliness in which one’s shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world, into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the pre-figuring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what at last I have found.

With equal passion, I seek knowledge. I wish to understand the hearts of men. I wish to know why the stars shine. I try to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this but not much, I have achieved. Love and knowledge, as far as they were possible, led me upward, towards heaven. Nevertheless, pity always brought me back to earth. Echoing cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children suffering in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people considered a burden by their sons and the whole world of loneliness, poverty and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to eliminate this evil; but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered to me. I am a very misunderstood person. People think that my life is easy because I am talented; but I have many problems of my own just because of this talent. I am often pulled down for some good that I do and this is very hard to cope with. I am a very sensitive and emotional person. I become happy, get annoyed and sad very easily. I think I like this part of me. All these emotions make me feel good about myself. I am not a very confident person, though people think I am.

We all want to be great at something. Some people want to be great at creating websites. Some people want to produce the most sophisticated accounting systems to change the way we use money. Others simply want to be great at their jobs. It is easy to get caught up in our own bubble as an entrepreneur. As a result, we tend to forget about the people who look up to us with admiration. I have been guilty of this, I must admit. Their quest to be great is no less important than mine is. We all like to think that we do what we can to make the world a better place and help people in need, but some people choose to make a career of it. Social workers labour tirelessly to help those who need it, without much glamour or glory.

Ever since I was a child I had that desire to “help people”. My parents were very active in social service agencies when I was young. When I found out that a big aspect of social work is advocating for those who don’t have a voice and working on their behalf to make positive change happen in their lives, I knew this was the path for me.

I’ve learned over the years that being flexible and open to change is one of the most important things you can do as a social worker. You might struggle in this field if you worry about strict adherence to schedules and expect people to behave in a certain way. I’ve learned to embrace the uncertainty and adjust on the fly.

Trust me, we feel it, we know some of these situations leave a lot to be desired, and we’re also talking to people after it’s done. People need us to be there “in the moment” with them to fight through problems. It’s important that they know they are not alone when they reach out to us.

I work in human services, with people who have disabilities. I started when I was 17 years old; I turn 50 this month. I have done everything from total care in group home settings, to supported living situations, vocational, evaluation, transition and more. I have been supervising or otherwise for at least the last 30 years. Although its not social work, it still contains the very essence and core scope, i.e., we work with people. I could go on and on about this field and the things I have learned. Instead, I will say this. Very little surprises me anymore; ironically the one thing that does is in fact ‘people’ in general. A common misconception is that people with disabilities can demand a lot of patience; it is probably the most common statement I hear most from those who ask what I do. Let me tell you this. People without disabilities, cognitive impairments, developmental delays and physical limitations, aka ‘normal’ people are far more demanding than anyone I’ve ever supported in any capacity. Your average everyday individual is far more demanding of patience, with a sense of entitlement, and often the source of any issue that could possibly arise. Staff often cause more issues than the folks we work for. I can’t make this up, its almost always accurate despite ow quickly I stomp it.

I will also say that this is the only field I know in which I can identify a job that allows me to go home and feel as though the things we do, the things we accomplish, the support provided actually help people create opportunities and change lives. We get to see the difference in someone’s face, tone, and experience the human character in a capacity many can’t face and if we’re lucky in the purest of ways. The biggest challenges are in fact the perceptions that others place upon people who are simply different; however, the irony is simply that it isn’t peoples difference that creates separation, whereas, I find that its peoples comfort level and ultimately I believe it is simply how people feel about themselves that creates barriers. I believe this to be true in many circumstances, but that’s a different topic. All too often I have worked with people who need a job and when that person hiring isn’t familiar or comfortable in that situation, barriers are created, excuses are made and more; yet when that person is no longer there, someone who is very comfortable will break down barriers and be open door of opportunity – at the same business. Social work, Humanitarian Services and related occupations tend to provide a job with value beyond the necessary evils that we all share in wages. Accomplishment,pride, contribution, motivation, challenge, growth, leadership, flexibility, culture, accompany tasks that challenge your mind and have the capacity to change the way you think, sharpening your intelligence, judgement, communication, yet offer something many connect with… finding something in a job they may believe in. It may not pay well, in fact I can almost promise it will not; though,there is value in other forms when you work for a company that values people above all else.

I am lucky. I don’t feel that way, but I have learnt that to give ourselves away and the blessings of God will chase us down and overtake us. You see, He wants to help you be enthusiastic about loving other people every single day of your life as show acts of kindness and caring.

If you will simply take the time to start studying other people, notice what their needs are and then put that knowledge into action through your love, this will dramatically improve your connections, which will lead to great relationships in every area of your life.