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Monday, July 12, 2010

What makes people get involved?

We had a couple of friends around last night and the conversation turned to what makes people get involved in other peoples fights - ie. standing up for someone that you think is being treated unfairly.

There was a lot of discussion around this as I'm one of those people that can't stand to see any kind of injustice - I want life to be fair - ok we all get told early on that it isn't - but it doesn't stop me being idealistic or trying to help if I can. But at what point is that considered interfering - or even damaging to the person you are standing up for? My friend raised that point that by standing up for someone - fighting their battle that you can actually be dis-empowering and not allowing them personal growth. A very good point - and I hadn't looked at it that way.

But then what if that person doesn't have the knowledge or ability and you can help them learn - we all need guidance and support at various times of our lives -and how can someone who has never stood up for themselves int he past learn how to do it if no one will help them?

What about the people that take not getting involved to the extreme - their reasoning isn't like my friends - they just believe that it's none of their business and it doesn't affect their life in any way. They stay out of potential conflict at all costs - they are the ones that would walk past a women getting hit by her husband - or a child left unattended in a car crying - or stand by while someones character gets unfairly maligned.

Personally I find this level of apathy frustrating - and I actually don't think it is coming form a place of good - but a place of selfishness. Maybe I'm wrong - but it's the way I feel. I believe that if I can help then I should - and to ignore anything like that wouldn't sit right with me - I couldn't sleep at night.

My friend asked where this need of mine came from - I had never analysed it - it has always been innate within me and I accepted it as part of who I am. But this morning I had a light bulb moment and I know where it comes from. It is a core value that was instilled in me from a very young age was "protect and help those who are weaker than yourself"

I suppose at no time have I stopped to consider that I am using my subjective judgement to determine whether a person fits in this category - and what I see as someone needing help - will not bee seen that way by another - they can be seen as interfering. More food for thought.

So why is it that some people feel passionately about helping others - and others feel just as passionately that it's wrong to get involved because it's nothing to do with them - and others feel that you are robbing that person of the personal growth and life experiences?

What category do you fall into? What is your reasoning? And is there a right or wrong in this case?


jan simmons said...

I think that people move through any or all of these categories during their lives Sophie. I think the majority of us start off with empathy for others, apart from severe cases of aspergers, & then we get the knocks in life that help us to learn about boundaries ours & others. I do think that there are ways to help to empower someone without stripping them of their dignity. I teach Art with 4 adults with mental & physical disabilities. When we do the activities I allow for their own expression as I would with teens or adults. There is a point where you have to take your ego out of it & step back. you teach technique & let them make the discoveries. This can be applied to most situations in life.

Sophia Elise said...

HI Jan - thanks so much for taking the time to leave a message and let me know your thoughts - it's great to hear other peopls views and to reflect. You make some very good points!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I tend to stand up for those weaker than myself. If I think they can hold their own I usually let them be unless I can see that they are looking for support.

As for walking by and seeing someone hit someone else or a fight going on, well I tend to get into the middle of things. Sometimes maybe I should keep my mouth shut but it irritates me to no end to see a stronger soul hurting a weaker one. I weigh all of 110 lbs but if I see someone 'beating' another I have been known to jump right in the middle and try to break things up. And usually when just one person will make the first move others then will get involved.

Great food for thought on this post!

Sophia Elise said...

Hi - Thanks for taking the time to leave a message and share your thoughts and feelings. I think you and I are kindred spirits ;-) - I just can't walk on by if I think that I can help and it is someone who is obviuosly out of their depth. And you're right - sometimes it's being the first person in - and others follow ....