Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nice Guy or Savior Complex

This week I have found myself in many situations that caused me to deeply question my own motivations. I have always considered myself a very flexible individual; a real "go with the flow" character, if you will. However, more than any other time in my life I had to literally stop in my tracks and ask myself the question:"Why are you doing this?"

In one instance, a close friend, who shall remain nameless, was having difficulty with an appliance (which I will simply refer to as a "washing device" of some type). Well, I have fixed many an appliance including several types of "washing devices"; a skill I picked up from my grandfather and YouTube. So, my natural instinct was to ask a few basic questions (pre-diagnostics) in order to determine what should be the best solution to a possible repair. I didn't realize until later that perhaps my questions could have appeared as "prying". After hearing that the "washing device" was leaking from below, I came up with two likely reasons for the leak and offered a suggestion for repair. In addition, I offered my services to at least take a look. I figured the gesture might have been received as one friend looking out for another. However, my offer was instead received with a momentary look of surprise and perhaps caution as if I had entered her private space (I tend to over-analyze but body language never lies). My friend said that she had been wanting to buy a new one anyway. I politely and humbly excused myself and stated that I meant no imposition at all.

At another time a friend was having car trouble. I am no mechanic by any means. However, I have had enough trouble with  vehicles to know a thing or two about the causes of certain clicks, rattles and squeals. So, when my friend had car trouble, again a felt an overwhelming need to lend a hand. Asking pre-diagnostic questions I offered some suggestions which ,in this case, were not greeted with hesitation, but with appreciation. I was happy to know that there was already a plan in place to look for a new car.

A third situation I found myself in was with a friend who was suffering terribly with allergies. As an allergy sufferer myself, and former pharmacy technician, I know of many non-prescrition rememdies that usually yield incredible results.  So, I offered again a solution to someone else's "problem". Unfortunately, I couldn't find a miracle cure but I felt satisified knowing that it at least alleviated some of the symptoms. It may have been time to see a real physician. On my way to the pharmacy to pick up these miracle pills I stayed at the red light a few seconds longer as I realized that I willingly woke up 30 minutes earlier just so I could pick up medicine for a friend. It never seemed strange to me until I looked at myself in the mirror.... I was smiling. I was actually delighting in the fact that I was helping a close friend. But, I wondered was "helping" or was I "saving"?

I am all too familiar with the basic personality types. No matter which scale you use I am the Melancholic, the Golden Retriever, or even the Rider (from Compton's Basic 4). I like to help simply because "I want to make you.....happy". So, is it to a flaw? Do I smother people with attention just so that I may have their attention? ....hmmmm.....maybe.

A Savior complex is in many ways likened to a God-complex. The difference might be in the motivation. A person a Savior/God-Complex has a nassicistic agenda: He KNOWS that they will do a better job, he KNOWS that you KNOW he will do a better job and he wants the world to KNOW that he KNOWS that you KNOW so then they will KNOW he will a better job than anyone else in the world.
A Savior, on the other hand, just wants to offer a way out. He KNOWS you need a way out, he KNOWS that you need his help. But, he can only stand at the door and knock and wait. I would say, though, that whether a "savior" or not, the world needs people who will step up to the plate. Do I think I am a Savior? maybe not...I prefer to think...I'm just a nice guy.

This week, though it may not be your inclination, offer a hand to your fellow man or woman. Someone needs an extra dime for the coke machine, instead trying to suppress the jingling from your pant pocket, reach in and offer what you have. A truly kind gesture is just that...kind, no matter how it is received.

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