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Ten Don'ts for Kindness

May 9, 2009 | by Zelig Pliskin

Ten common things to watch out for when performing acts of kindness.

From Kindness: Changing people's lives for the better.

1. DON'T be obsessed with the people you can't help. Focus on the people you can. You are a mortal. You, like everyone else, are limited. Obsessing about what you can't do prevents you from thinking about things you can do.

2. DON'T let the lack of kindness and giving of others influence you to stop helping and giving. Some people feel resentful, "Other people aren't helping. Why should I?" We learn from role models. Learn from those who are kind, not from those who aren't.

3. DON'T keep trying to help someone who truly doesn't want your help. Some people are very independent. They could gain from accepting your help. But their need to be on their own is stronger than their wish for your help. Be aware that some people really want your help but are embarrassed about it. If you feel that is the situation, try to say things to put the person at ease.

4. DON'T give up too soon. Some people might think that you really won't be able to help them so they initially tell you not to bother. If you don't give up, both you and the other person will see that he will gain much more than he thought.

5. DON'T complain that other people keep asking you to do things for them. If others come to you for help, it's an expression that they believe you are a kind person. You might not be able to meet other people's needs right now, but by being aware of their needs, you might think of a creative solution.

6. DON'T tell anyone, "I had to go without this for a long time. So you also can go without it." Other people have a right to something even if you didn't always have it. If you don't want to help someone, just say a polite, "No."

7. DON'T be hurt if a selfish person complains that you are selfish. Some selfish people try to manipulate giving people by telling them they are selfish. Perhaps you are being selfish. Then again, perhaps not. You might want to ask objective outsiders for their opinion.

8. DON'T be naive. Don't believe every story you hear. If a story seems questionable, check it out. If you have good reason to believe that someone is lying to you, perhaps he is. But be very careful. Someone's sad story might not at first seem true, but it could very well be that it is. A person who loves kindness would rather err on the possibility of helping someone who doesn't need it rather than not helping someone who does.

9. DON'T say things that might cause someone to feel badly when you help him. Some people might say things such as, "This is so difficult for me to do. I don't know why I agreed to do this for you." Or, "This is the last time I'll commit myself to do this for anyone."

10. DON'T embarrass someone when you do something for him. Be careful not to say or do anything in the presence of others that would cause distress to the person you are trying to help.

From Kindness: Changing people's lives for the better.

Click here to listen to Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's podcast for personal growth.



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