Posted in [witchcraft & wonder], [witchy reviews]

Ethics: Help

This discussion and questions come from Chapter 5: Help in When, Why… If by Robin Wood.

[Previous posts in this Ethics series include: Personal Ethics: an introduction, Ethics: Honesty, Ethics: Self, and Ethics: Love.]


Help is an interesting topic for ethics. I’ve always been taught to give whatever help I could afford to give, especially to those I notice need it the most. My favorite quote in this book is about help as well, though it’s found in the chapter about Love:

It [Love] is the decision to give all that you can honestly give without begrudging it, whenever you are asked.

My work ethic comes from this idea. I will always strive to do as much as I can, for whomever I can, as long as it’s something that I won’t regret or begrudge. And, being the kind of person I am, I only require acknowledgement of my efforts to feel appreciated; I don’t need awards, parades, or special thanks. Part of how I express my love for humanity as a whole is by offering help whenever I can.

[1] Helping others means…

…providing whatever assistance they ask for and/or accept.

[2] Accepting help from others means…

…allowing those with skills, energy, and ideas to assist me when I can’t do something alone. Sometimes, it also means allowing someone else to do something I *can* do alone, if only to spread out my “to do” list and make life less hectic.

[3] I feel that I should help someone most when…

…they clearly want/need help. I feel the need to help if I see that someone is struggling, or if someone asks for help and doesn’t get it from someone else immediately (I’m not a bystander).

[4] I am most likely to ask for help when…

…I’m feeling overwhelmed or need a break. I don’t often try things I can’t do on my own, but I have a bad habit of over-scheduling myself or writing epic TO DO lists that leave no room for eating, sleeping, or breathing.

[5] I should offer to help if…

…someone appears to need something I can provide.

[6] If someone refuses my help, I…

…let them know my offer stands, then back off. I don’t like pushy people, so I don’t get pushy with others.

[7] I am most likely to refuse to help, even if someone asks, when…

…that person never approves of whatever I’ve done once I’ve helped, even if I’ve followed their directions exactly. Nit-picking makes you no friends!

[8] I am most likely to refuse the help of others when…

…that person has frustrated me by ignoring previous requests for help. Like I said, it’s usually a bullet point on a long “to do” list, rather than something I can’t actually do myself. If I asked for Person A to take out the trash (twice) and got no help, I’m going to refuse help with dinner, dishes, laundry, and just about everything else. It’s like an angry-cleaning-protest thing I do.

[9] Offer your help to someone. Pick someone you think will be likely to take you up on it. If they refuse, offer to help someone else. Keep going until someone accepts. When they do, be “good help.” Write down who you asked, what they needed, what you did, and how you felt about it.

I don’t get many chances to change up my routine, so I used work. I know Shannon’s just as frazzled as I am, so I asked if she neede help. She had a list that needed to be done, so I completed parts A and B (as requested) and brought it back. It felt good, because she was relieved to cross something off of her work “to do” list.

[10] Ask someone else for help. Pick someone you think will be able to give it. If they can’t, ask someone else. Keep going until someone accepts. Write down who helped you, what you asked for, what they did, and how you felt about it.

I have no examples of this. At work, I’m the helper, not the helpee; I’m the go-to girl, because I work faster and more accurately than anyone else in my department. At home, I’ve gotten into the habit/routine of asking others to take a turn at dishes, laundry, and the like. Life is too basic and patterned to really have opportunities to do anything additional.

Final Thoughts

After reviewing my answers from previous years, I’ve found that I’ve grown a bit in this area of ethical behavior. I used to have a problem with pushing myself to the limit, and I’d end up begrudging others for not offering help (even though I never asked for it and pretended to be completely self-reliant). Now, I’m in the much better habit of asking for help when I feel it would be beneficial, even if I could *technically* complete my tasks alone. It’s better to let others help than to be angry at them for my own refusal to ask.


bookdragon, poet, witch

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