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7 Ways You Can Be Helpful Today

7 Ways You Can Be Helpful Today

There are two kinds of people in this world.

There are those who will only do exactly what’s expected of them, and wait for a task to be assigned before acting. And then there are those who are always on the lookout for ways to contribute and make life easier for others. It is this second group that is more likely to make and sustain positive relationships, which are the backbone of a fulfilling personal and professional life.

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Whether the person in front of you has just lost a loved one or is just having a tension-filled week, certain approaches will be more genuinely helpful than others. Some ideas:

1. Listen to the Person Talk

Sometimes, the help that is actually needed will be different than the help you initially think to provide.  The best way to determine what to offer is to be a good listener.  The more the other person talks to you about what’s going on, the more targeted your assistance will be.

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2. Suggest Something Specific

People who are under a lot of stress are not always thinking clearly.  So when you ask them “how can I help?” they might not know what to tell you.  And if you say “if you need anything, feel free to ask,” chances are good they will not call you because they don’t want to impose.  Therefore, it’s better to make a recommendation such as taking their place at an administrative meeting or picking their child up from school.

3. Help Them See the Positive Side

When someone suffers a setback at work, the tendency is to believe that their career is over and that they will never feel good about their job again.  In a case like this, it can be useful to point out the good that might result from such a development, like the chance to explore a new opportunity or learn an important skill.  Note that the “pep talk” tactic is not appropriate if someone has suffered a human loss (i.e. death, divorce).

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4. Don’t Keep Score

Practice giving freely of yourself without expecting anything in return.  And definitely do not keep track of what you’ve done for others in comparison to what they’ve done for you.  Even if you keep the information to yourself, you won’t feel as good about the interaction, and this will probably show.

5. Be Sincere In Your Giving

If you really don’t want to do something, don’t offer.  It is obvious to the other person when you are helping them under duress, and adding guilt and discomfort to their plate is the last thing they need.  Giving sincerely also means doing so kindly and without strings or ulterior motives.

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6. Don’t Be More Trouble Than You’re Worth

Once you agree to a task, do it promptly, accurately, and without having to be reminded.  A stressed-out person would rather do it themselves than constantly worry about whether or not you are going to come through.

7. Reach Out to a Stranger

When my daughter was born prematurely last year, several people I’d never met before brought dinner to our house.  I will never forget it.  Helping co-workers, friends and family members in times of need is always appreciated, but it’s especially meaningful to provide assistance to those outside your circle.

(Photo credit: Lifebuoy via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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