How we Triumph when we Give and Receive Help

Recently, I was focused on a goal.

It was a goal that I wanted to achieve and I wanted it with all my heart. I worked very hard and thought I was reaching the finish line.

Going without Help

But then, a huge barrier appeared. I fell ill. I became weak and tired. My intended deadline couldn’t be met. I was crushed. I was disappointed in myself because the old me, the healthier me, would have somehow managed to soldier on. The present me was just unable to.

I was at a loss, filled with despair. I honestly did not know what to do. Had I been too arrogant about my ability to achieve my goal? Had I been over-confident even, believing that my will alone was all that I needed to get what I wanted?

Overconfidence is infectious and can make us delusional in extreme cases. Even the Bible advises against thinking too highly of ourselves and our abilities; see

“An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person”, wrote Leo Tolstoy.

Asking for Help is Humbling

So, had I overstepped my boundaries and forgotten about the need for humility?

At some points in life we have to surrender. Surrender to the idea that we are not all-powerful. Surrender to the notion that we cannot always will things and they will be so. We have to let go of being in total control. We have to avoid the trap of arrogance. Of pride. We need to be sincere and humble ourselves.

So, I prayed earnestly for help. I did not know what else to do.

After a period of sadness and near-wallowing in hopelessness, I finally felt doors opening and help began to be extended. Miracles began to happen.

I want to believe it was because I wasn’t doing something just for myself, that these miracles began to occur. And I am so very grateful that the universe can sometimes work benevolently, to bestow what we need.

Giving is Love

Indeed, this fascinating article on the unselfish love of others states that “…there are two ways of living in the world. We can pretend that we are the center of the universe and relate to others only so long as they contribute to our egotistic agendas (“I-It”). If we live this way we will eventually fail. Or we can realize that we are not the center of the universe and we can relate to others in love and respect (“I-Thou”),” So, those who have tried to help with my cause, are displaying this very special kind of love and generosity.

Even, I, in the course of working on the big goal, had at times, stopped to help those who were struggling to get by on a daily basis, within my own limited means. And I found at the time, that it was truly gratifying to help within the means I had at my disposal.

Building Something Great

The truth is that we are small and insignificant. Insignificant when we compare ourselves to the whole of humanity and history. We are just one of countless species and organisms. Our lives are a mere breath in the span of eternity. Once we realize this, we see our inter-connectedness with our fellow human beings clearly. We already know how we need to treat the less fortunate.

So there is a feeling of happiness when we give what we can, according to our means. After all, nothing really ‘belongs’ to us when we leave this mortal Earth and we can only leave what we have behind.


Maybe, the only way some of us can achieve big things is to work together as part of a greater whole, without need for praise and adoration. With the faith and understanding, that we are better when we give and receive, in love, peace and understanding.

And we then give ourselves up to the human endeavor, one that is of supreme importance.

blue and green sky and mountain
A connection with the universe
Photo by Benjamin Suter on

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