A lot of us like to think of ourselves as Good Samaritans. We think that if we saw someone in true need, we would stop and help them. We have grown up on horror stories about inner cities where people get murdered and the neighbors don’t even call for help. We wouldn’t be like that.
As a child, I didn't hear Bible stories, but I remember reading the story in middle school, and wondering if I would be a Good Samaritan if push came to shove. I was obsessed with books about the Holocaust and slavery, and I always wondered if I would show compassion if I was raised not to show compassion. I wondered if I would be someone who helps someone in need even when it's unpopular or someone who sells out my neighbors. I always hoped I would be the Good Samaritan.
I was walking down the path near my house the other day, just a leisurely stroll on a beautiful day. And laying in the middle of the path was a man. There was nothing that exactly made it seem like he was in distress, but he was on the hot cement instead of laying in the beautiful field. I could see he was breathing, and so I asked him if he needed help. I asked if I could call someone for him. He said, no, that he was fine, but he didn’t move.
I watched person after person stop their bikes to ask him if they could help. I watched people hold their dogs away from him as they tried to see if they could help. Each time, he turned them away.
I think we’re often just like that man. People see our distress, and they know they can help, but we turn them away. “Look,” I have the cure, people say to us, and then we have a lengthy debate in our heads about whether we deserve the cure or not.
It got me thinking that there are definitely outward causes we can point to today where people are being treated like animals. And when we tell ourselves that we have to wait to heal ourselves until everyone is healed, we ensure a cycle where no one heals. If we wait to be free in our jobs and our relationships until everyone else does it first, we are choosing pain.
Think about the biggest source of pain in your life. If you saw a little child who was experiencing that pain, would you do everything you could to find her the cure? Would you give her a scholarship to the school that would fix it? Would you run a Kickstarter campaign to make sure she was funded for the service she needed?
Then, why do you ignore your own pain? Why do you let your limiting beliefs govern what you create in your life?
The women who come to me and are ready to stop sexual harassment in their lives always do it for the other women coming after them. They put on their oxygen masks first, and then that in itself creates a ripple effect of change.
I think we like to think of ourselves as a Good Samaritan, but we have a hard time acknowledging the parts of ourselves that are the beaten man. Each of us has both.
Be a Good Samaritan to yourself. Say "yes" when someone offers help. Invest in healing. It’s your responsibility.