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What is it about another person that attracts you to them – makes them likeable and trustworthy? Among other traits, I believe that some people are more appealing than others because they are kind and helpful and will not hold back to extend support for those who need it. Being helpful does not mean that you take on every responsibility that belongs to someone else because they appear inadequate to manage on their own. Rather it means providing support to tide over the problem and also cope with any problems better in the future. Being helpful is not limited to any kind of action – there may be situations where using your resources of money and time may be of help and in others disseminating knowledge and skills could be of immense help. However you decide to be helpful is really a choice that you will make depending on your disposition to make a difference.

The eminent and highly acclaimed educator and author Stephen Covey mentions in his bestseller – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – that interdependence is a much higher value than independence. This principle clearly translates to being helpful and needing help is the very basis of our society. Everyone at some point or the other needs a helping hand – this is irrespective of how successful, self-contained and sufficient someone may seem. Some people need help more than others and yet for a variety of reasons may be masking their need – so unless we really endeavour to know someone it is hard to ascertain what someone is really going through but may actually need help. So being helpful is also a trait that allows someone to reach out to another person just out of sheer respect and feeling of humanity.

Extending help does not always need to be enormous but the important thing is that it must have significance for the person to whom it is being provided. For example a friend noticed her maid a bit down and low on energy. She asked the maid the reason and got to know that the maid was hungry as she had not had breakfast because she had to rush to work in a household that was often mean to her. My friend prepared a nutritious breakfast and asked the maid to eat before she continued work. The reason my friend was able to notice a change in behaviour was because she is inherently helpful and kind. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture to lift the spirits and morale of those around us.

How important is the value of helpfulness to you? If you too want to be a helpful person but are unsure of whether someone needs your help or whether you can help at all, the best way to find out is to go ahead and ask, especially if you can sense someone’s discomfort. Being helpful is uplifting and a highly gratifying feeling. When you help someone the feeling you have is of being fulfilled and a sense of happiness that can only come from putting the resources at your disposal to good use. If you are feeling down, I can assure you, that the best way to feel better soon is by helping someone worse off than you. Try it!