God Helps Those

The phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is used to underscore the necessity for people to take self-initiative.  Many have attributed its origin to Benjamin Franklin but the roots of this idea go all the way back to ancient Greece.  Though it has ancient origins, the actual English version of this quote we use today was first penned by Algernon Sydney, an English politician who lived in the 1600s and wrote Discourses Concerning Government in response to Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha.  This expression said to show you believe that if you make an effort to achieve something, you will be successful.

Thanksgiving is coming and I am looking forward to second helpings, but like it says in that Ricky Nelson song ‘Garden Party’, “ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself”.  If you don’t help yourself, then you become a burden to others and the last thing that I want is to be dependent on other people for things that I can do myself.  Sure, that will probably happen someday, as I get older and become more decrepit, but as long as I can bathe myself, dress myself and feed myself, I can retain my independence.  I’ll never be your burden and I am only as heavy as I feel inside.  Taking care of your own needs is never a bad thing and it is OK to be a little bit selfish.  Putting yourself first improves your happiness and when you are happy, the rest of the world is better off.

As far as helping your family goes, that should be your second concern after you help yourself.  The ability to put others’ needs in front of your own is important, but it can be inconvenient at times and the demand that it puts on you to sacrifice your own happiness may make you wonder if it is worth the effort.  A mother’s love matters so much to her children and it is like nothing else in the world.  If the mother does not take care of her own needs, then she will not be able to give unconditional love to her offspring, which could result in the child suffering emotional damage.

Helping your friends, helping society, and helping the world all sound like good things, but what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits himself in the process.  What else can a man be but who they are.  A person can only do so much and if they take on large responsibilities and ignore the ones that are close to them because of this, they will end up being hated.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #97 which asks, “Is it more important to you to be able to help yourself, help your family, help your friends, help your society, or help the world?”

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