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A Helping Hand


Recently I have been speaking to people about what is takes to help them help themselves through certain situations, which are impacting upon their lives and well-being.

This is a personal issue really, one that involves not just other people, but also myself. I have realised, for some time actually, that this notion of ‘helping yourself’, is something of a hurdle for me at the moment too.

Now I know I am really good at lending helping hands to other people, it had been part and parcel of my many job descriptions over the years, and I did it without question. Providing advice, options, sign posting, information, listening and even comforting others; yet, helping myself to progress, to move on, to find direction, right now I seem unable to, I am beginning to fail myself.

We all find there are times when we have lost ourselves, some control and direction. How do we regain focus and find what we have misplaced????? Is it a case of actions speaking louder than words, or is it that once we find ourselves stuck – we remain so???

Do we all need a helping hand, a sign to show us the way sometimes?? Or is all that help and direction laying dormant within us, and waiting for us to actually see and hear it – rather than insisting upon searching beyond ourselves for answers???

Taking some time out to do what you want, or to think about what it is you want from your life – has to be a good thing, we all need time out. Time out can help us to regain our life’s compass settings. Time out takes you out of you, and the situation you find yourself in – it can help us to see things clearer – to then perhaps progress.

I think thinking is great, but doing something is too. Yet, how do you know what to do and when to do it – how can we know how if we are lost??? Is it just finding a reason to want to do something, and begin the ball rolling, which will help us to then move on and find what is missing in us and our lives? Can we then escape the pit that our lives have fallen into??

What if you don’t want to help yourself though, or more poignantly, can’t help yourself – how can you then progress and move on???

If there is help available for you to help yourself then take it! Yet, help isn’t always there – so what do you do then??

If you don’t know your direction in life; I empathise, as neither do I!!! Nothing I do or think changes this either – it seems complex, unless I am over thinking it all!!!!!!

I am stuck with uncertainties regarding my future, just as anyone could be. Only difference is I know about it in advance, and others might not have this insight so early on. Can I change anything about what might happen to me, well, I have tried.  Have I tried hard enough though, no not really – I have been lazy too long a time.

I now find myself wondering if I have the ability to take back my life and direction. So, what happens – depends on IF
I want to help myself or whether I just continue to sit back, and let MY life slide out of view (well, eventually, perhaps).

Sorry to be angst ridden and depressive, no one likes negative moaners right? Yet, sometimes, I feel like airing my laundry publicly and admitting – I have issues too!!!!! I am stuck, lost and confounded. I require a sign post, a helping hand. I don’t have all the answers I might need. I don’t have all the strength I might need to find my way either.

I admit that, so what??? Turn your back and think pathetic fool? Or, just maybe you get what I feel, and can lend that helping hand as I know I have, and would time and time again.

Yet, you are not me……………….

…………………………………………..and I am not you.

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38 thoughts on “A Helping Hand

  1. Sometimes we have to bite the bullett and do the things we dont want to do, to end up doing the things we do.
    I have the job I want, but it took me a long while to get it and several jobs i wouldnt have chosen but the need to pay bills was greater than my need to have a job i liked!
    however, to get this job, I volunteered, I networked, i wrote my own food articles, sourced my own list of markets and sellers etc.
    It was from word of mouth from retailers, stallholders, chefs etc, who were already linked into the business, that my job was created. Yes some may say oh thats just a lucky streak, but its a lucky streak that I spent 20 years creating!
    The one thing employers frown on is a break in employment, if you can ‘fill in the gaps’ even if its cleaning houses, or working in a charity shop, it does show to them the gap is filled constructivley.
    Its suprising how one dreadful job can lead to the most fulfilling one! 🙂

    • Hey there, thanks for your advice 🙂 I appreciate you sharing this with me!!! Yes I am au fait with taking any job to pay bills!! My dilemma is that for a set amount of time I have worked towards particular career paths, educated myself to expand on these paths, and have now realised, through a few bad experiences that I have been pursuing the wrong direction for some years! Really most of what I achieved was for the wrong reasons, and to prove a point. I now wonder, after thinking I knew something, how to change what I know and get what I truly want. Especially when what I truly want is quite alien (no how to guides available)! I know what you mean about gaps in a CV, I actually taught people employment skills for about 2 years!!!! I am momentarily trying to remedy this, but it is difficult living in a country where I am still not fluent in a language, and I am rebuilding what I know and also want. I suppose, right now, I am uncertain what the future will bring me – and how to really progress upon a path whereby I may be certain. Yet, I have to in some ways accept this, as what has gone I cannot change, and this break from what was, came at a time I sorely required it. Living here, I am after all gaining an experience many people never have to add to any CV; so I have gained something – even if I’m not currently working working for any company. There are light after tunnels – I hope!

  2. I have read all the comments and I think I understand what it is you want and why you find yourself in a quandary. Have you asked the questions “Why do I want these things?” and “Where am I getting my definition of success from?” These are important to ask because often we go forward wanting something with little understanding of the origin of the desire.
    I will tell you that if getting published is your desire you can always self-publish and sell your own work, especially in this day and age of technology but it sounds like you seek validation from certain accepted “authorities” in the business. If that is the case then there is a simple solution but I don’t know that you will like it.
    Nobody gets published by the major publishers unless you write about things that they want written. This is why so many writers get frustrated and discouraged because they assume that it’s based on the quality of their work but it’s the content that’s important. The writers who do get published are those who catch on to this fact and start writing about those things that they know publishers are looking for. If you don’t have a problem writing about things you may not like or agree with then you should have no problem achieving your goals but if honesty and integrity are important to you then I would suggest self-publishing.

    • Yes, although I don’t like admitting it, this has been the case. I feel I applied pressure on myself to achieve set things, and often it was because I felt I should to prove a point. Without X, Y and Z who was I? Yet, also there was so much I wanted to do – and still do!!! I therefore have always struggled to define exactly one path or one choice to pursue. Due to this it becomes ever more complicated trying to tick off boxes on life ‘to do’ lists, when they are never ending lists!! I have come to realise though, what I began doing at 16 was what I wish I had done – rather than what I did do. Yet, I have learnt and expanded who am by diverting. Even though I am more certain of what I want to do now, I am afraid of what I truly want, and feel lost as how to get there. Plus, I still feel pressure to succeed via the normal attainments sanctioned by society. I can’t tell if these accolades are what I want or don’t want – I just don’t know!!!
      Writing wise, yes I agree with you. I have come to think this also recently; flavour of the month gets published, while something out of the set remit won’t. I have considered self publishing too, but wonder about costs, editing and artwork. I think also this works well with excellent online networks, which would be something else for me to work on.
      Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it 🙂

      • Its always a struggle between what we want to do and what we have to do in order to make money and survive. Believe me when I say that the moment you start getting paid to do what you love is the moment you no longer love doing it. If this makes sense then you already know that there has to be two separate realities, the one where you work a job you hopefully don’t despise in order to pay the bills and the one where you do what you love because you love it and no other reason. This is the harsh reality I had to come to terms with but once you accept this then it opens up a new avenue of exploration. The money and the boring job are necessary evils that allow you to pursue all the adventures in life you truly want.

        • You know what, someone else once told me this and I didn’t want to believe them. Though, you and they are right. I want to know though how can living with what I hate inspire me?? How does such a thing inspire you??? OK, I will reword that – I understand harsh reality can inspire, and make people strive, but how does anyone overcome the harm it does to their psyche?? How can I wake up each day and think, ummmmm this is a terrible job, but I can accept it for the small mercies I have in return???? How can I explore the avenues if I feel I am wishing my life away in a hateful job/existence or whatever else??? How do I strike that balance to remain happy and on an even keel???

          • well I can offer two suggestions, but by no means are these the only options. First, you can try doing something to make money that is benefiting other people such as working for a non-profit or charitable organization but this will undoubtedly have a limited income. The second thing is to become a professional thief like I did, ensuring a rather large income and lots of freedom in terms of hours worked but then you run the risk of getting caught and living out your days in prison. I joke of course (or am I 😉 but my point is that you have to find a balance or trade off situation that you can personally live with. A job that pays very little but is spiritually rewarding can certainly provide inspiration for writing, then again a well paying job with flexibility as to hours and location worked can certainly give you enough free time as to offset the dreary nature of the work. You just have to find the right balance that works for you.

          • Seems as though it is what I was thinking anyway – just a case of me finding a job to suit my means. I don’t really judge too much, as becoming a professional criminal of any order might actually be on the cards if I can’t organise something ‘legitimate’ 🙂

  3. Bex, this post touched me greatly but I don’t feel good about giving advice to someone I don’t know well. I will say that Thoreau was right when he said “men live lives of silent desperation”. Most of us have felt like you at some point in our lives, some for a very long time. But we are all different. Some people would talk to a career counselor, some to a therapist, some to a friend, some would turn to drink or drugs and some, like myself, would go for a long hike, trying to lose myself to find myself. Whatever you choose, you are too clever not to find your path sooner or later.

    • I understand, and agree. I know I am not alone on this, and others have also experienced similar times of trouble in their lives. I take comfort for knowing this is the case, and that I am not alone. This is something I feel I have resolve – as I have spoken to others, but they have been little help really. I therefore feel this is my bone of contention to eradicate. The only issue is while I try to eradicate, I don’t want to become defined by, or stuck in this particular moment of uncertainty. I hope to find that path out of uncertainty. I am trying to think it all through, perhaps by doing so I can find peace with myself over my sense of confusion, and then progress. Many thanks though Malcolm, and I hope I am, and indeed will.

  4. I don’t see where things are going wrong. You want to be an author, maybe write a novel or articles in a magazine or newspaper. I have similar goals too. Start writing. Prepare yourself. Send your resume where you might find it interesting. Start walking your path. Stop thinking, or pause it for a little while, and do what you gotta do. You will reach your goal eventually, when the time comes. I actually love your writing, I think you would be outstanding in this field. What I’m trying to say, is that you have a huge positive potential. You are capable of achieving allot more than you think. You just need to acknowledge the fact that it takes time. There there Bex 🙂

    • I suppose I should elaborate a little more, so you see my dilemma!
      I have written some short stories, I have been writing and also editing a novel, and I have had my points of view on political developments published in local newspapers. Yet, this has not really brought me any closer to being published.
      For over a year I have been researching publishers, and how to get published. I have looked at literary agents and even entering writing competitions. I have come to a point where I feel being successful as a writer is not as easy as just getting on and doing it, or by writing as much as possible.
      Publishers need to be interested in your work, or know who you are, as do literally agents. There also fees attached to entering competitions – word and topic limits. It is frustrating finding the right avenue, though I won’t give up trying, I have begun to wonder if it is a career where knowing people, having contacts and money helps a writer progress quicker.
      As far as approaching places I’d like to work – I’d love to work somewhere where I could perhaps use my writing skills. I have tried to work at local papers back in the UK, but they turned me down because my degree is not in journalism, and I have no paid experience as a writer or editor. It is like a catch 22. I would even work in Admin at a newspaper, but so far nothing has happened. I would just like some experience in a writing environment.
      I definitely feel on the outside, no insider knowledge to help me get my foot in the door. No recommendations to endear me to a ‘writing’ employer. How have you managed thus far???????? have you had any successes in securing paid work or interest in your work from publishers?????????????
      I’m not being sorry for myself, I hope it doesn’t come across like that. I am just looking for, and need some advice and constructive pointers – as I am stuck and drawing blanks on how to progress!!!
      Thank you for having faith in my writing though – I appreciate it, that makes me HAPPY!!!!!!

  5. sometimes I just have to hit the “pause” button on my life. It is necessary for mental health as well as my physical health. I hope that things look up soon for you. All of us at the RCC are here for you ♥

  6. Bex, I agree with what others have said. You need time out to regroup. We also need wise counsel from others. I know I don’t have answers and am glad I have caring friends who can lend a hand. I’m not one to ask for help though, and I’ve done myself a disservice by trying to do things on my own (like drive to the emergency room instead of calling someone for help).

    I do hope you’ll know what to do. I don’t like it when life is so open-ended, and I’m not sure what to do.

    • Yes, I do need this time to re-figure what I thought I knew and wanted. I have so many uncertainties, and feel less secure about how I view myself than I once did. I need to find belief in me again!!! I have some people to help, but to be honest not many people get it when I talk about life direction and paths; they think I am weird. Yet, for me life is a path, a direction, progress and learning. Some people just see life as care-free fun, lazy Sunday lie ins, favourite food, music, work, holidays and so on (which it can be); but I also see life as finding a purpose or knowing who you are, and how you fit into things. I don’t want to settle for a 9 – 5 job that I loath for the rest of my life, just because it pays my way. Am I mad to want to live and have excitement and adventure??? Do these things even exist within life or are they mere fallacy and fantasy??

        • Oh I hope so too!!!!!!! Thank you for your belief, I need to feel I am not alone!!!! Yes, I do want a positive change and hoping I can secure that. Thank you!!!!! 🙂

  7. I’ve found that not just taking time out helps, but taking time out and doing something different from my normal routine. Even if that just means pulling over to a forest preserve I’m driving by and taking an impromptu walk, writing at a cafe instead of at home, stopping for ice cream with my kids in the middle of the afternoon, walking a new way to the library, driving an hour to volunteer at an animal rescue I’ve never been to before….whatever big or little thing it is, changing up my routine always helps me see things in a new way. Also makes me feel more independent and positive. That’s the mindset you want to be in when you’re trying to “figure it all out.”

    • Yes Jessica I agree that something different can create a sense of independence or positivity; even small things. I think I need to remember this, as I often see these small things as insignificant, and forget their place in my life. I need to shake off some entrenched shackles actually – work to ensure I don’t just become too accustomed or secure in a routine. I don’t need to be in a routine now, so why I tend to sometimes stick to one is beyond me. I thought it could give a purpose, a meaning – but really I feel it is stifling me, and not helping me think outside of my box (or four walls)! Thanks for reminding me of the small things!!!!!!

  8. Reblogged this on I really just pretend to know stuff and commented:
    I have been solving Sudokus lately at work, mostly because I have the time and I like the challenge. What in the depths of hell does that have to do with Angst?

    Well, it’s like this: Life is like the hardest sudoku ever, a puzzle where one must assemble the pieces, of which one has no idea of how many there are, and learning the rules as one goes. You’re bound to get some, many, maybe even most of the pieces wrong, you’re stuck often, moving backwards, retracing your steps. And it’s not only about weighing your alternatives, but also a lot about knowing what they are and how to find them. Unlike Sudoku, we only get one try, no practice runs. We can learn from our predecessors, but we learn just as many errors as methods to avoid them.

    I’ve gotten pretty good at Sudoku. Some of the most challenging I can solve within an hour, sometimes even half or quarter, depending on my luck and my focus. But with life, I often fail at beginner difficulty. I have made some progress, though; I have a job where I can solve Sudoku.

    • So, I shouldn’t keep seeing life as right and wrong answers, choices and decisions. There isn’t should or should not, the direction and progress is what and how we choose it to be. Yes, this works for me, I see the analogy Sudoku can lend.
      I have a tendency to beat myself up thinking I should be here, and here and have done this, and this. I think that I am failing in achieving some grand master plan. Yet, I am in Madrid living a life, and experiencing things others never will. In fact this life right now was something that I really wanted and needed; yet, here I am feeling it isn’t enough. Why? Because I am not some high flyer in a large company, I am not earning vast amounts of money, I don’t have my own business (though I have tried to twice and it didn’t work out), I am not an author yet (and I want to be).
      I think I am perhaps expecting too much, this isn’t a Disney film. I a foolish fool – blind and silly – I have what I wanted and I am still not happy. Now that is bad news.

        • I think what is ‘off’ is that I feel I am not in control of my life direction. I feel I cannot direct myself, and can’t find a away to achieve what I want. At the moment I feel as though something is preventing me from progressing – but not sure exactly what, accept I feel less self belief!!!!!!! Lots of feelings, and nothing really substantial – I.E – a plan to get me back on track!!!!!

          • That sounds familiar. When I had those feelings, I was in a deep crisis. Being controlled and manipulated by outside forces is a terrible feeling, especially when these forces come from friends and family, as was the case with me. Fighting it to break free took me years, until a few months ago. And it has nothing to do with growing a pair or a backbone, or severing ties, it’s simply realizing that you are being pushed along someone else’s path. Though that needn’t be the case with you, I hope my experiences benefit you – and anyone else who feels stuck and reads this

          • Yes, that is it – what you have stated have elements of truth for me too. It isn’t meant as control or manipulation, not in the negative sense of those words, but by being swept along in another’s path. I find I now am struggling to get my feet back on the ground again. I haven’t a niche yet, and feel the longer I don’t have one, the worse my uncertainty and feelings of being lost will be.
            I think that is true too, you are right that it doesn’t have to be true in my case. Thus far I have been passive in it all, because I wanted to be. Now I feel I really need to take charge again or face never doing so.
            I need to look at me closely; seriously look at who I am, what I want and what I can offer and find belief in me once again.
            I have thought about this a lot since posting this article, and think this is where my time should, for the near future, be focused. I can’t move on without being firm in my foundations of who I am – what I want – so I need to think about it and know it.
            Thank you for your empathy and advice 🙂 I appreciate it!

  9. There’s a book called ‘What Colour is My Parachute?’ which has been around for years (it’s still updated annually) and might be interesting for you. It’s career orientated, so it won’t answer all your questions, but it might help you do some practical, focused thinking about where you are in your life. You’re so young and still have it all there in front of you – there’s no harm in taking your time to figure things out!

    • Thanks for your advice, and for the recommendation; I appreciate it! I just had a look online and found the book. Managed to browse some pages, and feel the info on self discovery is interesting. I am beginning to realise I am afraid of even thinking of what I have to offer – like I have lost real faith in myself and my abilities. Looks like I have more work to do than I thought to regain that faith in myself. Maybe once I secure, and know this again, I can move on and know which direction I want to move in! Thanks again!!!

  10. I agree that time out can help refocus one’s energy. I’ve had to do that a lot. I think many people look at the time out and reflection period as quitting or a waste of time. Yet, it can push you forward and reveal paths much more than beating your head against the wall.

    • I hope so Charles, as this makes me feel more positive about my time out! I certainly hope the time will prove fruitful enough to eventually create a realisation in me of where I need to be in life – and how to get there!!!

    • Yes, I have taken a more selfish view on this – I have had to really or face going a little crazier than usual!!!!!

  11. Bex, I so hear you on this! Right now all I know is that I need to lose weight for health reasons and that has been my primary goal. Also I have been working to turn my life around. Build my self confidence, not run away from things that scare me, work hard and develop my comic skills. That’s kind of what I have been working on. I think the biggest thing for me is just starting and then sticking with it. I always have to remind myself, just take it one day at a time. I get super impatient when I don’t have immediate results, so a lot has been working to overcome that. That’s all me. I hope you can glean something useful from that.

    I think you are amazing and you help people think about important issues. I am here to help in any capacity I can. I think the thing about identity, of what makes it so tough, is it isn’t always about finding ourselves, it is about choosing what we make of ourselves.

    • Yes, I have seen that you have been setting your goals, thinking how to achieve them, putting action into motion to work towards what you want and see as important. You are making progress. I think that is the best option. It makes things quantifiable and breaks it all down into obtainable little bite sized chunks.

      I also understand the struggle with impatience; so small steps and not expecting too much too soon, can work to overcome the impatience.

      Yet, at the moment I feel impatient with myself!!!!! Reason is that I have no real clue as to where I want to be – or how to get there. Actually, if I am honest, what I truly want seems unobtainable!!!!! I therefore feel lost as to how to get there and be successful.

      Before hand I have always known how to get from A to B. I’d find a way to do what I wanted, but now I feel all my paths have been exhausted and are closed for major repairs. I don’t know, it is like hitting my head against a brick wall, thinking one path will move me on, but I end up back where I begun, wondering how the Hell to progress!!!!! Nothing seems right.

      I thought time out would work to help me breathe and reassess, but the hiatus has lasted longer than I anticipated. Now I really feel more confused and lost than ever!!!!!!!

      Thank you for that compliment on what I write – I do love writing. I appreciate your offer too 🙂

      Ummmm, what do I make of myself?? Something to consider.

        • To be financially independent. To be a published author – either novel, short stories, or regular column in a newspaper. Basically I want to get paid for my writing. I’m not asking for fame and fortune; I don’t want mega bucks, just enough so I can live. I’d like to do more travelling too – see all I can, while I can. Is this fantasy greenembers, am I searching for Disney in the big bad world of reality??? I think so, as I can never envisage any of the above occurring.
          Basically I am scared out of my wits of having to go back to the UK to have no job, and then stay with family while I search for a 9 – 5 I hate. A 9 -5 I will have to work in for the rest of my life, in a little dead end town, paying a mortgage on a house I don’t want to be in. Sounds glum, and by God I am feeling sorry for myself, and I’m sober!!!

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