If you look closely, you’ll find that even in (especially in) your kind acts to others, you are probably doing an important kindness to yourself.
When I think back to the (occasional) times I’ve helped a stranger jump-start a dead car battery, or the time I stopped to assist a stranger with a flat tire, or the times I’ve tried to help homeless folks, I can see that I’ve learned a tremendous amount that helps me.
These kinds of human interaction (especially for someone who has some shyness) certainly build character and courage. But for me they’ve also been great ways to build a base of practicality in know-how, equipment, and preparedness habits.
Now I don’t go anywhere in my car without my jumper cables or a jerry can for gasoline. I’ve picked up a bit of knowledge about the homeless shelters in Atlanta: their requirements, specialties, and drawbacks. I even learned some of the basics of the tire-change for the first time from stopping to work with a stranger, so I’m much better prepared for the next time.
I’m not as consistent as I should be in helping others. And when I do I sometimes grumble to myself about it. But I am grateful that I can be valuable in situations where people need help.
Charity can make you more practical – and it’s very friendly to people who want to learn on the job.