"Giving a hand", "fighting side by side" are some expressions that synthesize the ability of human beings to go out of their own way to help others.
This behavior, called altruism, which moves by the moral effort involved, has become a rare commodity in these times when materialism and selfishness have an important role.
But who has not experienced that comforting energy that is felt when our help alleviates the burden of another person?
Recently, science discovered the neurological basis of this enjoyable experience. Sometimes when we help someone unselfishly, the part of the brain linked to the sensation of pleasure is activated.
Now, the word "disinterested" is the key in this sentence, and we will explain the reasons in the lines that follow.
All that glitters is not gold
From all points of view, altruism is desirable. From the biological point of view, because the cooperation between the individuals guarantees the preservation of the species.
Psychologically speaking, giving and receiving help relieves stress, increases self-esteem, emotional bonding and encourages personal growth, while from an ethical and spiritual point of view altruism is a value that builds and connects us to transcendence.
But is it always good to help? At first glance, it seems so, but given the complexity that characterizes us as humans, the answer is not so simple.
The motivations behind the behavior of the helpers are the ones that make the difference. These can be numerous, some more laudable than others.
First, there is genuine compassion, which arises when we see someone who is overwhelmed by the charges and decide to offer our selfless help, without expecting anything in return, wanting only the good of the other. In this case, there is no "hidden interest", but this is not always the case.
Sometimes, surprisingly, people give their help to feed their ego, eager to receive social recognition and admiration.
Others, because in exchange for help, they get a profit, like a promotion in their career for example, and some because this action reinforces their feeling of superiority to which they are dependent or because they do not trust the other's ability to solve problems on their own.
Help can also be a way to control our fellow humansconsciously or unconsciously, making them dependent on the help they receive. Similarly, false altruism can be coldly calculated to deceive and manipulate others, in the form of a trap or an ambush.
Do not help too much because you can embarrass the other
Curiously, sometimes the help that is given with good intentions produces exactly the opposite effect, and instead of facilitating the life of the other, all you get is interfering in its natural course.
Thus, sometimes helping can shield the initiative from the other, as in the case of overprotective parents who, to save their children from problems or suffering, do for them everything they could do for them. -Same.
However, inevitably, sooner or later, they will have to face the challenges of life alone, for which they will not be prepared because, ironically, they will have received too much help.
When we feel the desire to help, it is important to follow our "intuitions", but we must not stop thinking about our true motives:
"What am I looking for with this? Admiration, control, feel important? I give fish or I teach to fish? I get some benefit by helping? Or, does it really matter? am I just motivated to help and make the other person happy? "
Altruism is a beautiful gesture that, in its purest form, can definitely make the world a wonderful place.
However, do not forget that a bad time to put it into practice or a bad motivation may not be appropriate and even hurt others.
However, when the doubt between helping or not to emerge, it is worth trying to put our sensitivity forward and not to allow deceptive intentions to overshadow its original beauty.
Image courtesy of Jose Téllez