When others are not at their best, we unconsciously start a balancing act between our best self and our lazy self.
What can I do to help? is a question that comes from our best self. We feel for the other person and we want to see if there’s a way for us to help them get back on track.
Of course, the answer to that question is often vague or undefined. People who are not at their best tend not to know what they need. And that’s when our lazy self kicks in. We quickly fall into old habits, we fail to keep the distress of the other person in mind, and we eventually resorts to habits that make us comfortable and safe. Our lazy self will always end up helping ourselves.
When others are not at their best, skip that question, even if well intended. Instead, keep the fact top of mind, and avoid asking the other person a favor, don’t put additional stress on them, forget about a rule or a habit that might be making their life more complex, praise them more often and say thank you to them at any possible occasion, bring them or buy them food, invite them out for a coffee or a tea, make them feel heard and listened to.
It’s a lot of hard work, but that’s how you make your best self prevail in these delicate circumstances.