I recently had a turn of events that caused me to rapidly rearrange my life on extreme short-term notice for a friend.
It caused some inconvenience to my family, but it was more about the fact that I wanted to help in some small way and offered my assistance, which was accepted. In isolation, this is no big deal, but it was raised by a concerned friend that I always seem to be more than happy to help out, often much more (apparently) than others do, and that these people never seem to return the assistance.

The inference was that it was uneven, and that I was missing out or being ripped off.

Now that raises another topic for me as well – the way people perceive the value of acts or services from their friends/ family, and how to reciprocate. I will that one for another time.

Do you find yourself like this as well? Always helping out and not always having the kindness returned?
This situation sparked conversations about why I want to do kind things. Why I want to help out.
My psych challenged me on this, asking me why I want to help. Do I help because I want people to return the favour one day or do I help out for another reason?

I have had to have a long hard think about this. I am a big fan of ‘If in doubt, be kind.’ But I am have been schooled to be wary of being taken advantage of, and the very definition of being taken advantage of is that of always helping others out, and them not only not returning the favour but of coming to expect you to always help them out. I know I have been taken advantage of in the past, and people around me seemed to blame me for it – “Well, you always help them out and never expect anything in return, it’s no wonder…..”

Since my psych challenged that thought, I have been reflecting on it.

I want to be kind and helpful to people for many reasons.
I do believe in Karma of sorts – the ‘Butterfly Effect’ and ripples of your actions – a small kindness today may make tomorrow slightly better for someone.
I value my position as a human being in a lucky developed country by the ability I have to help out in some small way.
I want to always act and behave in a manner that is true to me, my core values, principles and beliefs, not dictated by behaving in a manner that is reflective of those around me. I don’t want to be a shithead just because someone was a shit head to me. It is the easy way out, and the harder, but to my mind, better way, is to be generous.

After all, if I do be kind and generous as much as possible, what is really the worst that can happen?

Why do you nice things for other people? Is it because when you need help you want people to be nice to you or because it’s true to who you are and how you want to be? Even if those you are generous to never repay the kindness.

I thought that it was allowing yourself to be taken advantage of to be nice all the time. Even though I found myself being kind when others weren’t. On reflection that leads to disappointment and shouldn’t be the motivation for being kind.

I have been working hard on behaving in ways that ring true for me, in each situation. And I find that when I am not generous or kind, that often afterwards, I regret my actions.
So I am giving myself permission to be as kind as I want to be and it has no bearing on me if I ever think that someone will ‘pay me back.’ I just hope that instead they pay it forward.