Friday, January 25, 2013

Fearless Fridays: Paying It Forward

I am a nice person. I have been told I am too nice at times. I used to get annoyed about that but learned being too nice is not a bad thing. As long as I don’t let others take advantage of me and become a doormat for people. I learned it was okay to say no sometimes. Us nice people have good hearts and we want to help the world if we could. But there comes a time when we have to keep it real with ourselves and see that we can’t help everyone. We certainly can’t help others if we aren’t helping ourselves too.

I got a point in my life where I was running on empty. I realized that I was spending so much time helping other people, that I was not helping myself! I have big dreams as any normal person does. However, your dreams won’t become a reality if you are not putting in the time and effort to make it happen. I grew bitter and started this whole pity party with one guest on the invite list: Me. I would say to myself, “Why am I helping these people when I am not getting any help in return?” Many of the people I helped, did not return the favor. And I felt used and taken advantage of.

This became a big lesson in my life because it caused me to have an epiphany about people in general. I learned that I put unrealistic expectations on people because I expected them to treat me the same way I treated them. I had to accept that no one out there is like me. There is only one me. And no one is perfect. I had to learn to accept people for who they are. And if I wanted to help them, it was a chance I took because I wanted to help them for no other reason than I just wanted to. When you help someone and expect something in return, then you’re not genuinely helping them. You are helping them to gain something yourself. 

Now there’s nothing wrong with expecting to be treated kindly and respectful by others. But not everyone will treat you well. This is where the power of choice comes in. You always have a choice. So if you help someone and they take advantage of you, they are showing themselves to you as the person they really are. You are then presented with the choice of whether you want to continue to keep them in your life or not. If you continue to help them and be used again and again, it’s on you because you made the choice to keep them in your life.

I also learned that when you help someone, while you might not get that in return from that particular person, you will receive a blessing/help from someone else. Think of all those times that someone helped you out of the blue and you never helped them at all. That was no accident. Every time you help someone, you are sowing the seeds of kindness that will continue to grow to the point where you will just continue to be blessed. That’s the whole premise of paying it forward. You help someone and maybe that person will be inspired to help someone else because of what you did for them. Or it might not even be that person. It could be someone who was a witness to that kind gesture who was inspired to help someone else.

If we all accepted people at face value, instead of placing high expectations on them, we could make better choices on who we let into our space. People show themselves all the time. It may not be at first glance but when you are around a person long enough, there are always signs to a person’s character. At the end of the day, it’s all a choice. You choose who you help and you choose who you keep in your space. You choose to accept people at face value and you choose how you look at the world.

Accepting people as they are is tough but once you can do that, you look at the world with a different set of eyes.  You won’t have a problem being nice and helping people because you are looking at things differently. And when someone asks you, “why are you doing this for me?”  You can answer, “Because one day you will do this for someone else.”

A good friend of mine told me recently that I am too nice but then she also told me to never change because I am a rarity in this world where many have a ME-ME-ME outlook on life. I smiled and told her not to worry…I won’t ever change because I love being me, even if I can be too nice. Because I am no one’s doormat.

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