Helping is often a combination of three things – skills, money, and time.
We all have skills that can be sued to help another. This could be accounting, construction, coding, drawing, teaching, organising, cooking, listening, advocating to your MP or generally anything. Not all of these skills are needed all the time, but if you use them in your life, you can use them to help another.
Money is versatile. It can be sent around the world in seconds and used to buy items and services needed. It allows those in need to make their own choices about what they or their family need most. (And yes, sometimes that is a birthday cake which we may feel is frivolous). The challenge with money is that it often comes with power and control. We struggle to give money freely. We struggle to trust that our money, our donation is used wisely – often we disagree with how it is used because ‘we wouldn’t do that’. We forget that we aren’t them. And yet, money is one of the best ways we can help Ukrainians refugees now – there are many great charities working around the clock trying to help. Money enables us to help when we don’t have time or the skills needed.
To help another requires time. It is often inconvenient and not in your schedule, but helping requires time. Sometimes you can ‘fit’ it in do your regular activities, for example buying a neighbour’s groceries for them while you do yours, doing an extra load of laundry, and so on. However, most often, the time requirement means forgoing something you had planned and prioritising the other. Time is often the hardest to give or ‘find’.
So if you want to help others, one thing to do is to look at these three areas of your life and create space in each of them so you can help when needs arise. The hardest two are time and money, so start there. You are already have skills that can be used.
And yes, there is the other side of helping. It needs to be received by the person in need or the organisations helping the other. But perhaps we need to offer and if it is not received, perhaps it’s not about us and therefore we don’t need to be offended.