"In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with."
- Brian Tracy
Some will always think you a sucker for being so nice. They may even criticize you and try to take advantage of you.
Too bad. Jealousy will do that to people.
They hate to see others who do good works, who do charitable acts without expectation of reward, who try to help others, because it doesn't conform to their miserable and depressing viewpoint of humanity.
They are so focussed on themselves and the dirty tricks and misfortunes fate has played on them that they can't look at the world from anyone else's point of view.
If you can't think what life must be like inside someone else's skin, you can't appreciate the hardships that others endure. Those who can and do look at life from another's point of view usually (in my experience, always) find that they wouldn't trade their life and their troubles for those of anyone else.
That's a strange phenomenon. When we only look at our own problems and consider how hard life is on us, we seem to have the worst problems in the world. When we seriously think about the problems that others must endure--really learn what they are and how other people struggle to cope with them--we never want to trade ours for theirs.
Think of any famous person you know, especially someone whose life you may have studied to some extent. Not just the good stuff, but the bumps, potholes and sinkholes of that person's life as well. The more you learn about the real life--the inside story that the public doesn't usually learn--the more likely you will be to be thankful you don't have that person's problems.
Look at the people you meet every day, the people closest to you, with the same eyes. Every one of them struggles with problems and almost every one will hide them so that you learn nothing. Everyone wants you to think they are fearless, until proven otherwise. Everyone wants you to believe they never make mistakes, until they are caught.
Everyone wants you to believe that they can make it on their own, no matter what their problems and no matter how little help they have with them, until they break down.
Sometimes that breakdown is emotional. Sometimes it shows up as an addiction. Often it appears as unusual or antisocial behaviour, though this is usually done away from the eyes of others these people know. Sometimes we learn about that person's problems as a result of suicide or murder, or both.
If you are only thinking about your own problems and not those of others around you, when they go over the edge you may not be prepared. You may not be able to help.
You may miss the signs and live to regret it for years afterward.
Other people have it worse than you. If you dig deep enough, you may find that everyone else does. Be gentle. Cut them some slack. Forgive. Offer a shoulder, or some time to listen.
You may save a life. You will certainly enrich your own in the process.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for people who want to teach others, especially children, how to cope with life's problems and how to help them understand the vulnerability of others they know.
Learn more at http://billallin.com