By Dennis Lowery
One of my daughters wrote something that I both admire and have a bit of concern over (it was in response to one of her friends who asked, 'Where are the good people?'). I'll paste the part that concerns me here:
"Helping people is what I love to do, I will never tire of it because there is always someone out there who deserves a helping hand. I have been raised by two loving and inspirational parents who have taught me to do the best I can with the hand I have been dealt. I am strong because of my family and loved ones, and I will use my strength to help those I can, in any way I possibly can, because I have faith in people, in us as a race. "
I love that she is such a good-hearted person. But as her father and someone who has been far down the rough dirt road of life I wrote this for her (and my other three daughters):
There are countless good people in the world. Many of them surround me. Truly good people—the kind you want to associate with—know there are other good people out there.
It's the people that do not believe good exists you have to be wary of and you absolutely have to be cautious with those you think might be good but seem to always need something… are always looking for someone to help them or to care for or about them. You will want to comfort these people… be a friend or lover to them… be strong for them. But don’t rush to do that out of reflex because you are so kind and good.
NEVER blindly believe a person is good.
Listen to them.
See how they act when it seems no one is watching them.
See how they treat others and most importantly, see how they feel about themselves (by their actions and words).
They have to prove to you that they are good.
If what you see is negative… if their view of themselves is destructive, self-defeating or they are constantly running down other people and lamenting how their life sucks. Or conversely they are over the top, overly enthusiastic about things (anything), when they surely don’t have a basis to be that enthused and never realize their thinking is distorted or comprehend they have a skewed perception of reality. Be cautious. Keep them at arm’s length until they merit you letting them into your heart and your life. And if they don’t improve, become considerate (of themself and others), self-aware and rational, and continue with the way they are—keep them at a distance and let them deal with their own life. You can be friendly with them but don’t owe them any part of your life. They have to earn the right to your highest level of friendship or love.
Making the terrible mistake to take them in, trying to help them, accept or tolerate them and keep a relationship with them, opens you up to their bitterness and bile. And they will eat away at your time and if it continues and you let it... their negativity or irrationality will affect your life. They can drag you down. Don’t let it happen. Only accept friends and relationships on your terms.
The best way you can help people is by having confidence in who you are and in what you plan for your life (that does not mean being selfish or self-centered); be an independent thinker and above the very neediness, negativity and irrationality I just pointed out for you.
That makes you strong enough to protect yourself—and makes you the truly good person that makes our world a better place to live.