Most people are liars?

9 Apr

How often do you hear someone ask you “How are you?”

What do you say?  Do you honestly answer them or just respond with the expected “fine” response?  Better yet, do they really care at all about how things are going for you or how you are feeling?

I don’t think they do.  They don’t want to hear about your problems or worries, challenges or defeats.  They MIGHT (and that’s still up for debate) want to hear about some spectacular triumph, but definitely, they don’t want to hear your honest reply about your woes or defeats.

The same thing goes when something horrible happens, people say “Oh, be sure and let me know if there is anything I can do for you!” or ask “Can I help?” While some of the offers are genuine and heartfelt, the vast majority are empty words.

So why is this kind of lying socially acceptable if not expected?  Why do they go through the lip service when there is no intentions on even listening to the response, let alone taking any kind of action?  What motivates them?

I”m not sure.  I avoid making promises that I can’t keep, and when the offers of help are made, it’s genuine, and the one that receives the offer usually knows me well enough to know what I can, or can’t, do to help them, and is expected to realize those limitations.  Is that true of family, acquaintances, etc. when they make these offers too?  Are they expecting us to realize that it is merely lip service?

How many times have you gone out of your way for someone, whether it’s to help when tragedy has struck (from car break down to something more profound) or to merely be an extra set of arms when they are moving, only to have those same friends/family members ignore your own requests for similar help later?  How many times have you had someone who has given help, whether or not you had previously assisted them, only to have them use it like a dangling guillotine over your head for eternity afterwards?

It’s easy to be generous, and then after repeatedly being left standing alongside a dark road in the rain, figuratively speaking, to become cynical and unwilling to help others. It’s that old “once bitten, twice shy” routine.  We learn by their later rejection that our efforts to assist will not be reciprocated.  It happens too often too, whether from our so-called friends or less-than-loyal family members.  Bitterness, however, does not improve your own  emotional state, nor will it improve your “karmic bank balance.”  It’s just plain not good for us.

When it happens, do we need to forget it ever happened and then the next time they ask for help, go ahead and offer it freely, knowing there is no hope of “return on investment” in the relationship?

Probably not.  Sometimes, we try to teach by example.  With those people who are only concerned about what they are getting, versus what they are giving, they aren’t going to ever get the message or lesson we are trying to share.  So should we do it at all?

Help should be freely given, without expectation of anything in return, and done with a cheerful heart.

That’s something my mother has tried to teach me.  I’m not sure I’ve totally got the lesson down pat, but…it does go a long ways towards maintaining my own contentment.  It’s still hard to accept the rejection of a plea for help, and I’ll admit–that hurt doesn’t magically disappear, but it also won’t kill me.  I’m a lot tougher than that.

The whole deal of helping others is sort of the idea behind the concept of paying it forward.  I’ve had total strangers freely offer me badly needed help, on the spot.  I often didn’t know their names and never found out.  There is no way to repay those people for the kindness they showed by putting their backs into making a bad situation better.  Therefore, by my own rules, the only way to repay those people’s kindness is by paying it forward, and random acts of kindness to strangers is one way to do that.

Okay, I’m not wealthy, and I can’t do amazing things.  Sometimes though, it is the little things that make the difference to someone.  Like giving a loaf of bread to a homeless guy, or a few dollars to someone who’s in a jam and will never pay it back.  Maybe it’s used clothing donated to someone, just because they needed something more.  Maybe it’s a ride to a guy with a flat tire and no spare, or a quart of oil to someone at a rest area.  It might be donating food or my labor to a church or organization to prepare a holiday meal for those who may not have one otherwise, whether due to living alone or lack of funds to buy the food.  It might be herding stranded travelers to an impromptu shelter at a local building.  It doesn’t matter–as long as it is help that I give freely.

You have to care.  Even if its a plate of cookies to your neighbors for Christmas, you have to put effort into it.  The gift of a smile to a stranger might be the only thing they are given all day, so why not make it yours?

Don’t promise what you won’t give.  Do more than what you think is “necessary” to make your world a better place.  If every single one of us donated just 24 hours in a year to making our communities better, we’d all be living in a world that looked a lot more like paradise.

Stop being so self-centered and selfish.

The truth is, he who dies with the most toys won’t win a damned thing.  So, what are those “toys” doing for you?  Is your fancy McMansion a happy home, filled with laughter and love?

Think about your own life.  All too often, we will look back and realize that our happiest times were often the times we thought were the “tough” times, when money and material goods were nearly non-existent and we were able to experience life with family and friends without worrying about our wallets or our toys.

Love life as it is.   Pay it forward.  Share your “toys” with others.  Life is an amazing thing when we’re no longer concerned about whether we’re going to be “wasting” our time and effort helping others.  Maybe it will make the difference to them, and maybe it won’t…but in the meantime, it will make a world of difference in the person you are now, as well as in the future.



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