Seeing Through Someone Else’s Eyes the Struggle of Self Worth

On Friday morning we had a guest come for breakfast. Her name was Cara. She shared her story about living in poverty and successfully moving past the wage gap.  She mentioned her low feeling of self worth during this time in her life.  She was distrustful of all of those people that were trying to help her.  She was part of a program to help educate her on trying to get out of the wage gap and this program offered great help such as childcare.  However, she did not trust the people cared for her kids while she was learning.  She felt as though the childcare people had some ulterior motive for the reason why they were helping her.  She simply did not see any reason that they would offer their help to her.  She felt as though she did not deserve it.  She did not have any self-worth. 

I thought that this was interesting to hear.  From my point of view I never even doubted whether she deserved help from others.  I feel as though anyone who is in need of help is worthy of it.  She obviously had a hard time seeing it like this. 

Throughout the years I have done hundreds of hours of volunteer service.  I never really considered how my service would be taken or how the recipient would view it.  I never questioned whether the recipient would appreciate my help because I always assumed that they would.  I always assumed that they would be super happy and grateful for any help that they could get, which is why I was surprised when Cara mentioned her distrust that she felt by the workers who were trying to help her.  I can understand why she felt this distrust and lack of self-worth.  These feelings make a lot of sense, but it never would have crossed my mind that she would have felt like this until after she had told her story and shared her feelings. I look at volunteering and social work from a different position than the people who are receiving the help.  I see it as good and as making an impact no matter how big or small.  I need to remember how I may be perceived when I try to help others and how they will react to my outstretched hand. It may take time, if at all, for people to trust those that are trying to give them aid. 

Sarah Beth Watson