"Step Out the Boat" - Save Yourself Before You Try to Save Anyone Else
I recently completed a two-part workshop series addressing the theme "Step out the Boat: It's Time to Bring Your 'A-Game'". During a segment of the first session, I presented the following question to the audience: "Are you experiencing enough life pain to take action?" One woman had an interesting response that drew attention to the complexity of a cultural value that is important to many of us - benevolence. In fact, as we were discussing the workshop attendees' goals for stepping out of the metaphorical boats in their lives, I noticed that most of their plans involved helping others.
While addressing my question surrounding "life pain" and "action", the woman told the crowd that she grew up in Mississippi, which she defined as a place where helping people was the cornerstone of her upbringing. She then went on to explain that she is now at a point in her life where she needs help in order to advance...a place where many people are in themselves, but are afraid to admit.
Why do I view her testimony as a spotlight on the complexity of benevolence? Because most people want to be known for meeting needs, not having needs. The former is usually seen as a representation of strength while, unfortunately, the latter is an assumed display of weakness. It's not a bad idea to incorporate goodwill and benevolence into your personal goal-setting. After all, "Everyone needs help from everyone," as the German playwright Bertolt Brecht once said. But never exclude yourself from the "everyone" who is in need, and don't be afraid of exposing your
So if you're on a "benevolence boat" that is disabling you from recognizing your own needs and asking for assistance, you should...(You already know where I'm headed)...step out the boat!