Traditionally, we think of helping as the act of providing value without compensation. From a certain perspective, this makes sense. However, there is a lot that you receive in the act of giving a helping hand, and often the value is worth more than the effort spent.
Why you should give help:
1. When you help someone, you get to practising a skill.
When someone needs help, it is usually because they cannot do something on their own. The best way to think of helping is practising. You are joining someone to practice a skill. It can be mundane or exhausting, but by mentally approaching it as practice, you will feel like you are benefiting directly by giving help. And if you don’t think there is anything to practice, well then you need this even more than the lay person.
2. When you help someone, you have an opportunity to calm your mind.
In zen meditation, you are taught to approach simple daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning as a form of meditation. That way, as you progress you will automatically get some restorative meditation in the act of doing what you would have to do anyways. (Those clever zen monks). The same can be said for helping someone; you are putting your focus on something outside of yourself, and you can treat it as a zen monk would treat washing those old dishes.
3. When you help someone, you are strengthening bonds.
Freely giving assistance is a meaningful act. Time is a commodity that does not regenerate, and though it may seem small, every time you help someone, you are giving a meaningful gift. Some of the greatest bonds are formed when people are forced to help each other to get through a hardship. How you show support during the moments when it is needed is what people will base their understanding of your character on.
Next time someone asks you for help, let these benefits come to your mind. Perhaps lending a hand is exactly what you need.