Blog entry by Alan Chapman
The next time you find yourself trying to help someone, ask yourself, has the person asked for your help?
Ask yourself also, what's your motive for trying to help?
Are you trying to help because it will make it easier for you, or for the other person?
It's difficult to watch someone struggling, especially if we have an emotional attachment to the person we see or imagine to be struggling.
These motives tend to be irreconcilable.
People grow through their struggles.
If we intervene when no intervention is wanted, then we hinder the growth.
When someone is (apparently) struggling it can be very unhelpful to suggest that the 'struggler' needs help.
To suggest help implies there's a problem.
Whose problem is it?
Is it yours or theirs?
It can be very unhelpful to give advice, or to suggest a 'solution', unless someone has asked for it.
What do you know about what another person is thinking and feeling?
Advice is commonly a projection of one's own view onto someone else's life.
Advice might be well-intentioned, but it's generally motivated by a wish to fix 'the problem' as soon as possible, because the person giving the advice is uncomfortable with 'the problem'.