No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Self-Compassion is famous for assuring us that we will benefit from kind action, but what happens, when this effort is taken for granted or trivialized?

My mom is famous for saying that no good deed goes unpunished.  She is a professional do-gooder.  She is a clinical psychologist, single handedly raised 3 boys, has contributed to charities, and been involved with research for breast cancer.  Despite her good intentions, hard work, and discernable charm, there are still people that receive her kindness with ill will, or self-centeredness.  I am grateful to have this example, so that I can draw on my self-compassion, when others respond negatively to my generosity, instead of losing myself in self-criticism or aversion to doing good things in the future.

Be honest.  How many of you have made any effort to show others kindness, only to have it rejected or neglected?  I think most of us can relate to this.  I also believe that without the self-compassion paradigm that we are apt to think that perhaps kindness is weakness, or simply a waste of time.  Without solid answers we scour the Internet, and with our confirmation bias in place we unconsciously search for absolute scoundrels, who succeed in relationships and work.

Once we obtain sufficient examples of unappreciative people that embody our superficial ideas about success, we scorn ourselves for our naïve, kind ways, and make a plan to embrace selfishness.  What your internet search will not show you is that selfish people actually need to surround themselves with other selfish people to not feel so, well selfish.  When life hits them hard, as it does us all, they find themselves bemoaning the selfishness of their friends. 

The Benefit Of Being Kind

The benefit of being kind is not so much how other people respond to your kindness, but that you, like all people, will try to find people like yourself with whom to associate.  I do not mean to ruin the ending, but I am saying that in all likelihood, if you are kind, you will have kind friends.  When struggle presents itself to you, there will be people, who want to avail themselves to you.  You just need to be ready to accept this outreach.

So, are we, in fact, punished for good deeds?  I suppose it depends on your perspective.  From the viewpoint of immediate validation and appreciation, then sometimes we are.  However, from the wide-angled, big picture of life, we seem to have built a kingdom of kindness with our friends, colleagues, and relatives.  Remember, it is always better to be cursed by the stranger than to receive unkindness from those you hold close to your heart.

A Quick Exercise To Remain Empowered In The Face of Rejection And Neglect

In order to preserve your well-being in times of rejection and neglect, simply notice the harm being done to you.  Grieve the pain it causes you.  Watch as these sad or hurt feelings pass, and with this relief take a moment to remind yourself of all of the people to which your kindness has connected you.  According to psychological research, it is not the number of supports we have, but how supported we feel that counts.  If you have enough supports, remind yourself that you are the reason.  If you are lacking in supports, go out there and get some.  You deserve nothing less!  If no good deed goes unpunished, then perhaps no good deed should go unrewarded either.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 180.  In The Books.