Be your own fool: Choosing selflessness vs self-protection

[…] Anybody who is living by selflessness, who wants to always be helpful for other people, who is so focused on in any way being useful and valuable to other people: this is just a target for being exploited.
People will take advantage, get free help.
“Hey, can you help me?” “Hey, I could use your help.” “Thank you.
I could use some more of your help now.” “Oh, I really need your help again.” “How about some more help now?” It’s just too easy to have your energy be just pulled in all different directions and just drained away if we just present ourselves to the world open, saying “Here I am, ready to be helpful.
Who needs my help? Hello?” […]
It just seems like it’s not possible to really be fully selfless and to really take this attitude.
So this leaves me kind of stuck, in that, well, I can see the advantage of selflessness, but then the reality of simply living in the world that way is not tenable.
So, how is it possible to actually carry this out? Someone who is just completely giving to anyone and open to be manipulated, really, by anybody, would be called a fool.
And yet, somebody that is completely closed off from other people, somebody who just refuses to help anybody, because of this fear of being manipulated, in order to avoid being manipulated, to completely cut off from everybody and not be helpful at all: going to that other extreme would also be foolish in its own way.
It seems like either of those extremes is foolish, and no matter where you decide to draw the line between giving and protecting yourself from too much giving, somebody’s going to call you a fool.
You’re going to be a fool from one perspective or another.
Either you give too much and you’re being taken advantage of, you’re a fool.
Or you are holding yourself back, you’re avoiding being helpful where you could be, and maybe there might be other words than fool.
Maybe they could call you a cynical, a miserly, just a disagreeable, nasty person.
But ultimately, being those things is also foolish.
Living your life as a disagreeable, nasty, selfish, miserly, nasty person does seem like a foolish way to live life.
So either way, you can be seen as being foolish in your decision whether to give or not give.
So it seems like it’s up to us to decide: what kind of fool do we want to be? What is our particular blend of giving and not giving? Now, everybody around us: there’s gonna be so much clamour, so much demand, that if we are offering free helpfulness, free value, service to others, there will be all kinds of demand for us to throw our energy in that direction.
Help this person, help that person, this way, that way.
That demand is coming everywhere.
If we don’t set any specifications, we will simply be torn in all directions.
And you could say we would be their fool.
If somebody is manipulating us, taking advantage of our generosity, we would become their fool, if we do it on their terms.
But if we choose on our own terms how we want to give: what does it mean for us to be generous? This is something that we each have to decide.
What is our particular brand of being selfless? It can’t be helping everybody, so somehow it has to be focused.
We can make our recipe of “This is how I’m gonna give.
This is what I’m going to focus my energy in.” And we can decide, “I am choosing to be helpful in this situation, choosing to be generous, choosing to share my value, share my energy, with this person, because I believe that this is the best thing to do.
And yet it is our decision.
It’s not because we feel that somebody else is controlling us, that “Oh, you know, the way they said, oh, I have to help them”, “I feel obligated”, “I feel manipulated”, really.
If we set the controls for how we’re going to be selfless, then we can decide how best to spend our energy, so that rather than being anybody else’s fool we can be our own fool.
So it’s like deciding “OK, if I have to be some kind of fool anyway, no matter what I do, I’ll be some kind of fool, so I will decide what kind of fool I will be.
I will set the recipe, set the boundaries, set the limitations, set the focus, set the specifications for how I will be a fool, how I will conduct this life of selfless generosity, and how I will share my energy with the world.” So it may not save you from being a fool, it certainly won’t save me from being a fool, but there’s something about being able to set those parameters and say that “I’m choosing to live this way, because I believe that it is the best way to live.
My life, my choice.”

#selfless #protectyourself #beafool

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