There is helping and there is hindering.

Hindering is where you’re actually handicapping the person you think you’re helping so that they’ll never learn the skills necessary to be able to stand on their own.

Helping is when you see someone being overwhelmed, and you step in, strategically!

It’s very important.

You never know when taking such an action can save a person, give them just enough encouragement to keep going till relief comes.

I think I’m in the sandwich generation phase of my life.

That’s when I’m dealing with elderly parents who need help and children who sometimes need help too.

Sometimes you end the week sore and exhausted. But even when that happens, I feel happy that I’d picked up some of the slack.

In this day and age of heightened acknowledgement of the fragility of mental health, you never know when the help you’ve rendered makes the difference between stressful functioning and despair!

When the elderly person you called, who’s been struggling, perks up enough to keep on going and same for the young mother who needed just a little bit of help.

Sometimes I feel like the mat of a trampoline. Like I’m being pulled upon by all kinds of family obligations.

And yet I believe in doing what I can.

Especially when it comes to family, I say yes as much as I can, so that when the time comes (and it inevitably does come) when I have to say ‘no’ I can do so without any feelings of regret.

I was talking to a family member recently and he was saying that I’m not like other women he knows. I said, “Yeah, I’m totally blunt.”

And he agreed and he told me he loved me for it.

And in the moment I realized that over the years the way I’ve learned to stop gossiping and backbiting is to take the things that irk me and say it in a polite way, so the person can actually deal with it. Or…shut up about it.

For example, a lot of cattiness involves personal comments about the way a person looks. Really? Who cares! We all have times when we don’t look our best. Making fun of others is just the worst thing you can possibly do.

But…some backbiting is an airing of grievances.

Talking to other people about what so and so did only creates ‘fitna’. Fitna is an excellent Arabic word that sounds like what it means, ‘trouble’ trial, difficulty. Fitna! I love that word!

It’s better to just speak to the person you’ve got the problem with, tell them politely why you can’t accommodate them or…if you’re only going to deal with them every once in a while, suck it up and ignore them.

That was a recent course of action I took. I was fuming over something that had happened, and then I thought wait a minute! I only have to deal with this person in this way once a year! Why do I care?

Let it go.

And so I did.

I don’t care what that person thinks. I’ll just avoid them as much as I can and I absolutely won’t count on them for anything!

No gossip. No backbiting!

Move on.

Nothing to see here folks.