Thank You

“I Just want to be Helped, and be a Helper”

Thank You

“I just want to be helped, and be a helper.”

Thank You

Those words were written to me by a teacher and friend in describing his ongoing “personal work” on the task of continuing to examine himself and the way he treats and interacts with others.

I’ve found that if I listen closely enough, I can form connections with others and see things about myself through their stories.

I appreciated those words for the simplicity as well as the complexity of the message behind them. They represent very finely some core values that I try to keep in mind in my own journey to become a better human being.

“I just want to be helped, and be a helper.”

I think it takes honesty, self-awareness, humility and courage to be able to live out these words.

In order to be helped, one must first recognize and acknowledge that something is wrong, admit some level of vulnerability and discomfort, seek help, trust in those who are doing the helping, and actually accept the help being given.

It takes courage to admit vulnerability, and humility to accept the help of others.

In order to be a helper, I think that one must listen intently to understand what the needs are, be self-aware in order to understand how best to use oneself in a given situation, and have the courage to act on behalf of another, possibly in the face of obstacles and opposition.

It takes humility to listen to others to learn from them (instead of speaking for them), honesty & self-awareness to be able to determine the best way to help based on strengths, and courage to  follow through and act in the face of adversity.

I’m writing about life, social justice, targets & agents & allyhood.

Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.): Year 1 Complete

Although my very first post is dated April, 8th, 2011, today, April 1st, 2012 marks the completion of 1 year since the launching of my website, and Blog: Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.).

I want to thank you for contributing to this blog, be it through your loyal readership, thoughtful comments, the sharing of my posts, and for some, even connecting offline.

Moving forward, readers can continue to expect to engage in critical thinking around our social identities, and how we fit into the complicated web of power, privilege, & oppression as parts of our identities can place us in positions of privilege, while others can leave us vulnerable to discrimination.

Although I may address some difficult topics in my writing (definitely for myself, possibly for you as well), know that my work isn’t about playing the victim, causing white guilt, class guilt, hetero guilt, or any other kind of guilt. It’s about the ongoing pursuit to become more humane to those around me. It’s about systemic accountability and social equity. It’s about increasing self and other awareness.

It’s about coalition building. If we all can see that we play a role in how conditions are either improved or perpetuated, the hope is that it will help us to be able to want to work together.

As “People Who Inspire Series'” feature Dr. Lumas Helaire once said:

“When we are aware that who we are is tied to everyone else just like the water in the bottle is tied to the waters in the river it was collected from then it becomes clear that your acceptance and love for others is a reflection of how much you accept and love yourself.”

I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing this in action, and it continues to inspire me.

Again I say, many thanks to you all. To echo those words of my teacher and friend, “I just want to be helped, and be a helper.”

Learn with me,

Join the conversations

Take action in your own ways.


Wishing you all Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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4 Responses

  1. Daniel Jacob says:

    Well said Relando I can hear you. Wishing you much success in year two, keep spreading the knowledge that has been acquired and can’t be taken away!

    • Daniel,

      Thank you for your support and your wonderful comment!

      I will definitely strive to continue to share what I’ve learned moving forward, but I’m also looking forward to learning about myself and others through listening to others’ experiences as well.

      Thank you for reading!

  2. I really liked this post. Often, when asked, “Why did you want to become a social worker?” social workers respond, “I wanted to help people.” It is said so often that I think sometimes we think it sounds corny or doesn’t ring true. But when it comes down to it, this simple statement is what is at the core of being a social worker. Your addition of the “I want to be helped” piece is important, because we do need to look inside ourselves and know our own needs, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as really listening to and understanding the needs of our clients. Thanks.

    • Thanks for stopping by Linda. I’m with you. When I first read those words, “I want to be helped and be a helper”, It made me think of my own journey to become more humane to others, but I also believe that those brief words exemplify what social workers do at the core.

      I also want you to know that I really appreciated you reaching out to me to include me in your upcoming book series on group work. It was a wonderful experience and has really inspired me to continue to write, and to look for other ways to share my thoughts and experiences with others! I will never forget you for giving me such a great opportunity. It truly has been both affirming and encouraging!

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