In which I am helpful

Since I have been writing about my failings and shortcomings, maybe a balancing post on things I have done that are more positive.

In therapy, I say something about how I can be soothing to people, in counterpoint to how I am a bit aggressive in work meetings sometimes. How? Ron asks. When are you soothing? I sense skepticism in his voice – it’s quite true I’m not soothing to him. I pay him to take care of me, not for me to take care of him in the short fifty minutes we have. Anyway, at the time, I can’t think of an example. But later, I think of these:

  1. Listened sympathetically to a friend who is truly upset about a dating relationship gone wrong. I have my own ideas about what goes wrong for her, as she has obvious patterns, but I hold my tongue and just listen and sympathize. I’ll just aggravate her if I try and dig into why this is happening to her again. Soothing, IMO. My role is just to be on her side.
  2. I listen to my ex’s troubles. He has the same troubles he has always had, caused by himself for the most part. I don’t point this out (most times). His life is hard, and I just hear him out.
  3. I am polite and friendly to my next door cubicle neighbour. He is extremely introverted and gets annoyed when you talk to him during the day. Plus he is only comfortable talking Chinese – I’ve never heard him talk English to anyone if it’s not about work. He would have ignored me, but I’ve built up a little relationship with hellos and goodbyes, and a few comments here and there.
  4. I have instituted inter-group communication at work, at least about our documentation projects. There is a lot of distrust between groups, but I think my bi-weekly project updates, emailed to managers and directors of the affected groups, are helping. They get to trust that they will hear from my group, even if the project isn’t doing much. And they get to know of any issues or updates, in case they want to comment. I feel like that’s an accomplishment. Group soothing, let’s call it.
  5. Tactfully helped a blind group member down the complicated stairs for his smoke break. Didn’t grab his arm – asked how I could help, and guided him down by talking as he requested. OK, anyone would do this – but I happened to do it, and it was fine, so I’ll write it out.

That’s all I can think of. It’s not much, but it’s something. I want to be kind and helpful. Maybe intent is good enough for now.



  1. I think this is important to recognize to yourself that kind actions are also part of your life. Hazards of working on becoming healthy, stare at the dark places to long.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, exactly. thanks Ruth

  2. leb105 said:

    wonderful! You are a blessing to your circle. I laughed out loud at your interpretation of skepticism on Ron’s part!!
    Being generous with your non-judgmental attention is quite a gift to people.

  3. Rachel said:

    You can add the support you offer on here, too. You give me lots of helpful and caring feedback, and I read others’ comments sections and see you do the same for them. I appreciate your input.

  4. Ashana M said:

    No, anyone else would have grabbed his arm and not asked. Thinking to ask is advanced EQ.

    You help me.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Ash. No one’s ever accused me of advanced EQ before, but I’ll take it. 🙂

  5. As a blind person I think you did great with your co-worker. I hope he told you so too. Its important to give feedback when someone does the right thing. You certainly did in that case. I think you sound very helpful in so many ways. XX

  6. e.Nice said:

    You have been very helpful to me and I appreciate it! I hate it when someone asks for an example and I draw a blank. It is smart of you to write up a list afterwards because you do contribute a lot to the world and to your sphere of influence. Did you share your list with Ron later? I’m impressed that you did this.

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