A couple of days ago, I published an article about Karma.
Everything Comes Back Around
What comes around, goes around. Otherwise known to most as karma. We’ve all had our moments of wishing our next job in…
In response to that article, a dear friend and I had a conversation about the difference between being a doormat (essentially) and being altruistic. He wrote this article in response as well. I ask that you give it a read, as it is truly one of the most well written pieces I’ve read lately. Joao is a beautiful person, inside and out, which is one of the reasons I’m so fond of him. But beyond that, my attraction to him, as a person and friend, is the fact that he makes me think, always.
Altruism, Humans and Science
A ramble about how scientific literacy, logic, and rationality makes you see and perceive your fellow humans in a…
I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly altruistic human being. And for the most part, I am. However, my problem has always been, when it comes to people I know personally, I expect them to do what they say they will do. And therein lies the issue; I expect.
To be truly altruistic, you must go into any situation without the expectation of anything. You must understand that what you are doing for that other person, no matter who they are, is simply for the purpose of helping your fellow human, period. No expectation for recompense, nothing.
Since reading his article, I have done a bit more reading on my own and came across this interesting piece about Roshi Joan Halifax’s new book, Standing at the Edge. She talks about the relationship between boundaries and being pathologically altruistic.
“When altruism is unhealthy, when it goes too far, and it harms one physically or mentally or it harms the institutions the altruist is working in or the institution or the nation that the altruist is endeavoring to serve, then it tips into what has been called by social psychologists ‘pathological altruism’.” — Roshi Joan Halifax
Yes, you can be too altruistic.
So, where is the line? Well, that is determined by the person that is giving. The purpose is to be helpful when you are able, and how will you be able if you are hurting yourself in the process? You can’t be.
It’s not selfish to make sure you are taken care of first. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. The lesson here is to be self-aware in all that you do. Giving to and helping others puts you on the path to having a truly good life, as long as you don’t do so at the expense of yourself.