The Best Way to Help Anyone is to Work on Yourself

When we understand we have monsters, and so does everybody else, we can get ready to greet them

The best way to help anyone is to work on yourself. They might need practical assistance, of course. If a disaster befalls them, you may offer your time and support, or share your resources with them. But if you want to help humankind as a whole, and everyone you meet, self-development is a must.

We all develop whether or not we want to. You can gain momentum, though, by choosing to iron out your wrinkles (metaphorically) and learn from your mistakes.

Personal growth is a lifelong exercise, and some would argue it takes place over many lifetimes. You can leave it to unfold naturally. But if you really want to help people, self-help is the answer. Here’s why.

As we learn and expand our understanding, we must slay our daemons. Not with swords and battle. The way to master your mind is through love. And until we get rid of those monsters, we hurt people. They lash out from inside us, either through what we say or what we do.

Unless we recognize the fire-breathing insecurities and illusions that hold us captive, we have no control. We are at their mercy. At times, we inadvertently feed them, and they grow. At others, they are big enough already to lash out and they go to town.

If we enjoy a mindful moment that coincides with our monster’s dramas, we might spot them from the corner of our eye. Then we realize we trigger someone’s anxiety. We yelled, said something unfortunate, or did something that caused them pain. Much of the time, however, we are unaware our monsters live within us, and we imagine our suffering stems from the world outside of us.

It can seem like the world is topsy-turvy: People don’t realize what’s important and their actions give us plenty to worry about and fume over. The stress we have the power to change isn’t necessarily a panacea for all ills across the globe. Not instantly, anyway. We can’t work on ourselves until we’re so brilliant we solve the world’s, or should I say humankind’s problems in a flash.

But we can pay attention to those daemons that trouble us, causing us to damage those closest to us, and be aware our actions have a knock-on effect. They spread far and wide.

We are mere grains of sand on a beach. Yet, if each grain either rubs against the next or sits gently beside it, it has a different influence on what happens to the entire beach.

Our daemons, monsters, insecurities; whatever we call them aren’t evil. They are nature’s teaching tools. They are our life lessons in the making. Whatever we haven’t yet mastered rises and speaks to us through the experiences we meet, many of which stem from our previous behaviors.

Or they stream from the behaviors of the people in our surroundings who let their monsters loose next to us. We can’t control anyone else’s fire-breathers, but we have the power to control how we behave, how we react. And that means, as grains of sand, we wear out the grains next to us with our painful behavior, or we calm them and sit silently with them in peace.

There are many ways to embark on the self-development voyage. You can go to lectures, read self-help books, and talk to people who know more than you. The list, in fact, might be endless regarding how you go about gaining insights and understanding to apply to your behavior and mindset.

The best way I’ve found, however, involves expanding mindfulness so you can stay awake in the moment. Most of us are asleep. Our eyes are open, but we live in Dreamland. We aren’t aware of why we have emotions, how we cover other people’s wellbeing with them, or what we should do with them when they arise.

We drift through Dreamland, bumping into people, influencing them in ways that help their monsters to ignite too. It might sound scary, but it’s how we learn. Even with controlled self-development, we can’t sidestep the process.

When we understand we have monsters, and so does everybody else, we can get ready to greet them. Not by brandishing weapons, though. We can best manage them by returning to the core realization that what we all want from life is love.

If we keep our intention to act from love, basing our words and actions on love, massive amounts of our suffering ends. It can’t survive in the wise environment we create. Our monsters vanish. They fade because they feed on fear, and when you focus on love, you choose the opposite and they can’t survive.

Independent content creator, ghostwriter, author mental health advocate, and poet.

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