As someone who is genuinely magnanimous, it’s so far outside the realm of what I expect that it’s always a shock when it happens. That’s not to say I don’t notice when someone is a selfish jerk. It just takes me a little longer than some people.
I notice this happening all the time. People assume that I will pick up the slack, pick up the tab, pull their weight in addition to my own, do their work for them… and a lot of the time, they’re right. I abhor a vacuum. When I see something that needs to be taken care of, I just do it. I don’t look around wondering who’s going to take care of it. I don’t even give dirty looks to the person who should be doing it. I just get it done.
Sometimes it’s work. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes it’s simply coordinating and making things happen. I was raised in a family that taught and lived responsibility. It doesn’t matter who made the mess, if you see it, clean it up. If someone is in need, help them. It isn’t about getting kudos or attention. And, it’s a good thing it’s not about attention, because what you find in life is that you never get kudos or attention for quietly taking care of things and making things happen.
Most people are so oblivious to the world around them they probably just assume that stuff is “taking care of itself” and that no one actually had to do anything.
I’ve written before that ‘altruism is for suckers.’ That’s true to a degree. Altruism, if you’re a selfish person, is truly only a good quality for someone else to possess. But altruism in and of itself is a good thing. If everyone were altruistic, the world would be a great place. But just because there are a bunch of selfish, lazy people who take advantage of altruism doesn’t mean that it’s still not worth it.
It would be hard to believe that selfish people really end up happy with themselves in the long run. In the end, it’s not about getting credit for your efforts, nor is it about helping others. Altruism makes you a better person, whether others know it or not.