Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Go and congratulate Sherry on her new job. I think it's awesome.

She also has a really cool post about fighting self-doubts and making yourself feel useful by asking others how you can help them.

I've been asking the question, "How can I help you?" And I've meant it, with genuine curiosity, and eye contact. Not asking as a promise or an obligation, not undertaking, necessarily, to do what it is they'll say they need, but a simple inquiry -- what could someone like me do to help you with your current goals? And I'll tell you, that small habit is pretty cool. It magically shifts my frame of reference out of my own position as the center of the universe, and a shabby one at that, to a supporting actress who can shine in that role. I stumbled on it, not because I was trying to be saintly but because I was feeling so lousy about myself that I was desperate to shift the conversation back onto the other person. And it turns out to be handy -- people are surprised and pleased to be asked, it takes my own critical eye off of myself, and the requests are usually interesting and small and they make me feel like maybe it's not that hard to be a useful and good person after all.

I like this, a lot. It gets me thinking. So I want to steal it. Having the opportunity to write makes me feel really lucky, but it also sometimes makes me feel kind of useless. And it kind of feels nice to think that maybe I have something to offer someone reading this. So I want to ask: what can I do to help you? Shoot me an e-mail. No promises, but who knows.