Many of us, I believe are like me, when someone offers to assist us in some situation, we don't like to take it.
There are a number of possible reasons why we may not accept help:
- we feel embarrassed that we find ourselves in a situation where someone has to help us
- we feel we will be beholden to them and we will at some time have to pay them back
- we are not good at making conversation and accepting the offered help will mean conversing with that person, etc., etc.
and conversely, when we do not seize an opportunity that comes our way to help someone, we have missed a chance to increase the "happiness index" on earth.
First of all, most people feel happy when they help a fellow human being, because they are just good at heart, they want to reduce the pain of others, they are better positioned to perform the task; they want to repay some good deed that someone (not necessarily this person) had done to them earlier, they want to look good in front of others, etc. etc.
And to top it off, the person receiving help feels happy that his/her task has been accomplished without too much struggle on his/her part; embarrassment, if any, will be overshadowed by this. Also, from what I said above, when this person helps someone else later, happiness increases all around.
So when help is offered and is taken, world becomes a better place.
I have seen that even when help offered is monetary and is paid back later, the above applies. In fact, in the case of monetary assistance, it might be good to ask the beneficiary to return the "loan" if and when they feel they are in a position to do so. There are many advantages to this. The returned funds can be used to help others. The person who benefited from the loan does not have to feel indebted for ever, in fact he/she feels better that they have reached a stature where they can return the loan. In all the cases we have encountered, the initial beneficiaries have become benefactors later in life, with the multiplication of the accompanying happiness.
In the entry titled 321Wow we saw how where we stayed in Houston changed as time for treatment elongated, until we found ourselves in a charity apartment. But "the next place we found ourselves in provided us a luxurious stay, thanks to my second PhD student from UMass, WZ, who has built a $2B beautiful University campus at Macau and has a home in Houston." This case study provides a nice example for the theme of the current blog entry. Also, it allows me to say thanks to WZ and his wife LC. Finally, it also relates to what I had said earlier in the context of students "who nurture the very institutions and people that nurtured them in the past."
Fortuitously, ZW contacted me just when we were desperately looking for a reasonably priced place to stay in, but without luck. We were thoroughly moved when he not only insisted that we use it for free, but that we also make full use of his Lexus. We felt overwhelmed but took up his offer with a lot of (mostly unsaid) thanks. WZ and LC's generosity will be long remembered and may it be an exemplar for others. Thanks a lot, my friends.
Happiness saw itself multiplied and spread enormously, thanks to ZW's timely offer of help and our taking it!