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If we help someone out of a sense of obligation or guilt, it’s better than not helping them at all, at least for them. But what does it do to us? If we feel like we’re being manipulated or coerced into doing something nice for someone, even if it’s very subtle, it’s going to negatively affect the way we see that person. Instead of seeing them as someone who could use a hand, and providing a hand simply because we have a hand to give, we’re going to end up seeing them as helpless, or as a victim of circumstances who needs us. That’s a very different level of interaction. It’s out of balance. That’s why the Buddhists use the term “loving kindness,” as if it were one word. Because love for other people and love of ourselves is the foundation for sharing our mutual strengths in order to balance out our temporary individual weaknesses.

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