When “Helping” is Actually “Hurting”


I have a secret to tell, but it’s not really a secret because I am not shy about pointing out my flaws.
It all started out innocently enough, we had a bush that needed to be trimmed (badly) in our front yard. My husband was mowing the grass and I thought I should help him out. I got out the electric bush trimmers and started straight away. The first few passes went pretty well. It looked pretty even and I was impressed with my “talent”. Then I noticed a spot that needed some extra T.L.C. so, I cut it, then another spot looked wrong so I cut it. This made the previous area look not so good, so I went again and again and again until the side of the bush was completely bare. It honestly didn’t look so bad from where I was, but then I took a step back and…well…in hindsight, I maybe wasn’t being so helpful after all.


So, my secret is out- Not only should I never be trusted with electric hedge trimmers, like, ever, but I have a terrible habit of thinking I am helping when I accidentally make things worse.
There has been many- a – time when I tried to say something to encourage someone, and ended up with something that sounded absolutely NOT encouraging coming out of my “pie hole”. My dear friend Sarah, God rest her soul, used to call what I have “foot in mouth disease”.

Not only have I been the perpetrator in many less than helpful, but well meaning exchanges, but I have also been the “victim”. Sometimes, (especially if you have been mistreated, rejected, or hurt too many times) it is hard to believe that people, in general, are well meaning, and not out to hurt you. So, as hurtful as that unwanted suggestion of a “diet you may want to try”, or that “better way to raise your children” might have felt, it is important to believe that the person suggesting it most likely meant no harm in what he or she was saying. Even if the person did, it is better for you that you forgive them for their indiscretions and not let it fester inside.


Well, there is some advice I just doled out that I need to take! Even though being adopted harmed me, I need to realize that it wasn’t done because of bad intentions. She probably (wrongly) believed that I was going to get some sort of Hallmark greeting card life full of love, acceptance, material goods, education opportunities, puppies, rainbows, and unicorns.


So, why is it so hard to forgive people for the things they have done that hurt us, even though we know their intentions are/were good? How can we be forgiving and fix the sadness that the indiscretions of others cause us? We have all made mistakes, myself especially. I know I appreciate forgiveness when I mess up. So how can I let go? How can you, reading this let go of the harm caused to you by well meaning people?

The answers are hard to find, and you have to dig deep to help some of these hurts. I know that I will focus on this, and try to work it out. We are people, we are resilient, we can move on. Our hedges, however…will never be the same 🙂


Written by
Betsy was born, adopted, and raised in central Illinois, and has lived there her entire life. She is married to a very fantastic, understanding man named Lucas, and is a mother to her dream children: Eli (10), and Cailyn (7). Her household includes two dogs, Cleo the papillon, and Jelly the pug, a bearded dragon named "The Doctor", a frog named Lazarus (who came back from the dead), and a fish. When she isn't managing her "family zoo", Betsy volunteers with her church, and with Boy Scouts, and is an adoption advocate.

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