“How can I help?” You are at HGSE, I presume, because you are interested in helping others. But you also know, from your time here, to be aware of the savior complex, of the stance where you are the expert or hero who swoops in to save others. We shouldn’t let the real pitfalls of the savior complex extinguish one of the most humane instincts there is — the instinct to lend a hand. But how we help matters as much as that we do help, and if you ask “how” you can help, you are asking, with humility, for direction. And you are recognizing that others are experts in their own lives and that they will likely help you as much as you help them. ~James Ryan https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/16/05/good-questions
From the time I was 5 years old, I was expected to take care of my mother. I was given responsibility way beyond my years and abilities. Now, with my mother in an assisted living home with a broken hip, I am feeling that same anxiety that I need to swoop in and save the day by helping mother no matter what havoc it causes for myself. Oh dear. Talk about text book example of the savior complex gone awry. (If you are not familiar with this complex, this gives a short explanation: http://www.peopleskillsdecoded.com/savior-complex/) I can't fix my mother's broken hip. I'm not the only one visiting my mother. I can't make my mother happy even though she tells me that my visits bring the sunshine into her miserable life, she says that shortly after someone else left from visiting her. Quitting my job and caring for my mother 24/7 would wear me out but mother would still be living through healing after breaking her hip. This is not my problem to solve. I don't need to swoop in and save the day...there is nothing to save. I believe in service, don't get me wrong. I am learning the value of the request from Jesus, "Love thy neighbor, as thyself."
Mark 12:28-31King James Version (KJV)28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
He didn't say love my neighbor more than myself. He didn't say love my neighbor and neglect myself. I am on equal footing as my neighbor, my mother, the teachers I work with, the students or anyone else I choose to help. Their needs are not more important than mine. Service is important to me but neglecting my health to serve others, serves no one. Now what? Today, I stayed home and rested. I am fixing dinner for my grown children that live close by and their families because I love doing this. I am putting myself back on my chart for self care. I am a work in progress. Jump in where I'm at, don't play catch up. Start where I am and move forward.