What does Faltruism™ look like?
/ˈfaltro͞oˌizəm/ (n). The belief in or practice of selfless concern for the well-being of others while consciously or subconsciously doing so for the benefit of oneself.
It's human nature to want to help, but how do we select who we chose to help? Often, it's those we view as "less fortunate" than us---people we perhaps feel sorry for because they've been dealt what we perceive to be a bad hand in life.
But what if that's simply not the case? What if the person whom you perceive to have been dealt a bad hand has really just been dealt a hand that looks different than yours? What does that make you as the helper and are you really helping that person at all?
Whether we realize it or not, we often "help" people to help ourselves---whether consciously to gain praise or notoriety or subconsciously because it makes us feel good. While these ideas alone may not seem all that terrible, they may be compounded by the fact that the help that's being offered actually causes more damage to the person who's being "helped" than one might guess.
When someone forfeits a win to a person with a disability to "help" that person get the win, the whole experience for that person has been cheapened. The message is conveyed that this person cannot possibly have a legitimate win because they are "less than"---one of those unfortunate few who have been dealt that bad hand.
Meanwhile the "helper" becomes the hero in the situation---gaining praise, recognition and possibly even press for their good deed.
Helping is great. It's just important to be mindful of who is really gaining from the act, as well as what's at stake.
Faltruism™ was a term coined in 2016 by our colleague and friend, Molly Franks.