If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that there’s foolishness to believe that human potential is unlimited. We find ourselves infinite, and we’re actually quite restricted. This is true for all things. Creativity, imagination, and even love and kindness are limited resources.
So I’ll break off this little bit of advice for you: reserve your goodness. Keep it. Don’t burn yourself out. Don’t be selfish, or mean, or hateful, by any means; but instead of just readily giving away your love and kindness, save some back. Don’t just hand it to anyone. And don’t ever hand it to anyone who doesn’t deserve it, or anyone who hasn’t asked for it, for that matter. You’re likely to end up getting yourself hurt, or hurting others by putting the responsibility of reciprocation and gratitude on their shoulders. Some people don’t want that. That’s actually unkind to do so. Let them, instead, be in peace.
When people come to you with goodness, always respond in kind. And if someone is lowly or on hard times, consider it an investment, that they may also one day do something good for someone, and impart just a little to them. But never, ever give away anything that you can’t except back in full, or that you can’t expect to be received with a warm welcome. That’s just silly.
I used to think this kind of thinking was cynical, but it’s actually very practical and realistic. Your heart only has so much in it to give before it becomes empty, and you’ll end up becoming bitter, hard, and nasty if you give away too much. I know, I know. We all think “well, not me! My love is endless.” I was that naive. Not even the ocean is endless. You are not bigger than the ocean, by any stretch of your imagination. You will bottom out eventually. By being a little bit more selective, you can ensure that you’ll have plenty of goodness to last you a lifetime, that you can extend to people who actually want it, need it, or deserve it. Don’t become like me. I’m 24 this year. 24, and I feel like I’m dead inside. I gave away everything, and now I’m left with nothing. I’m emotionally bankrupt.
Can your heart be refilled or rehabilitated? Probably. I think so. There’s definitely hope. But I think, sometimes, that there’s a leak in my heart. Maybe the container was so dry and empty for so long that it became brittle and cracked a bit? People have given me goodness -such wonderful, wonderful goodness -and some of it has gone straight down the drain. It’s almost wasted on me. But who knows what’ll happen? It could very well be that I’ll mend. Maybe, one day, my heart will be overflowing again, and all will be as it was. I’m neither hopeful or doubtful of that. The probability is there, I’m sure. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out, and I guess that’ll be a lesson for another day.