Why Bother?

I was asked by a reader, in essence: Why bother being kind if the world is headed for destruction anyway?

I believe that we increase humanity’s chances for survival by being kind. When I’m kind, I feel good, the person I’m kind to feels good, and those witnessing the kindness feel good. I don’t see a down-side to making the effort. Even if the world is headed for destruction in the long-run, the world–and my life–will have been made better by acts of kindness in the meantime.

With Love,
Russ

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About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
This entry was posted in Kindness, Making the World a Better Place, My Beliefs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Why Bother?

  1. Kindness maintains relationships and joy in the world. Eventual destruction doesn’t mean you should stop maintaining. Eventual death doesn’t mean that I will stop eating.

  2. utesmile says:

    Why bother ?, what a question , Kindness wins hearts and kindness turns hearts around and then the world won’t lead to destruction. It leads to detruction because kindness is missing…. so we need to do our utmost do change this. We can’t just not bother and give up….. nooooo way!

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for sharing your perspective, Ute. While I agree with your viewpoint on this, I can also see that many people may be living lives where the answer isn’t nearly so obvious from their perspective based on what they have experienced so far in their lives. Things may indeed seem hopeless to them. May they find hope in their hearts to keep going when it takes courage just to get out of bed each day, and may they soon find love, kindness, and acceptance from others and within themselves.

      • utesmile says:

        I understand and that is why it is so important for us to show kindness and share our love with people to show them the light.

        • russtowne says:

          I agree, dear friend. The other part of my comment is primarily directed toward those who are struggling in the cold and darkness, to let them know that they are not alone, to help them to see that they aren’t invisible, and to begin to consider the possibility that they have something positive to share with the world. Some pull away from the light out of experience and habit, but they might begin to accept and trust if a small candle is lit and doesn’t burn them.

  3. MCS Gal says:

    I agree. Being kind improves our little corner of the world and we can hope that it has the ripple effect.

  4. cho wan yau says:

    Yes but it still doesn’t stop the world heading for destruction and our miniscule acts of kindness is just a drop in the ocean; does nothing to lessen the evil and suffering experienced by billions nor does it stop wars. We are in effect powerless, slaves to multinationals and corrupt self serving goverments. That is the brutal reality and congratulating ourselves on how good and kind we are is not going to change an iota to the evil and injustice the majority of the world experience daily.

    • russtowne says:

      I ask this with respect: If you believe that–and I’m not suggesting otherwise, I’m simply seeking to understand–why do you read a blog that espouses gratitude, empowerment, and kindness? Is it possible that there is a part of you that WANTS to believe that you are far from powerless; that you aren’t a victim; and that you can change your life in many positive ways?

      • cho wan yau says:

        I also ask this with respect what has been the worst thing that has ever happened to you? Actually tbh I am thinking of unfollowing because every time I read your blogs about how grateful we should be I feel the need to comment otherwise and that is not constructive and is a bit of a party pooper. You are so wonderfully happy and grateful, good for you and I am happy for you. But do you read the news, are you aware of all the suffering on a major scale happening all round the world, maybe even in your own corner? Poverty, discrimination etc. Sorry but it seems a bit like my life is so wonderful. Well, a lot of people’s aren’t. Sorry if I have offended you and I won’t follow anymore because I don’t want to come across as rude or ruin the feel good factor.

        • russtowne says:

          I know that life can be hard. My father left my mother with three young children and one still in the womb when I was the oldest child and only about four years old. I nearly died of Whooping Cough as a young child, had many lung collapses, and endured two lung surgeries in my teens, got dumped by a fiancée, nearly lost my daughter to an incurable disease, suffered some business failures including one that drove me to personal bankruptcy and erased the financial resources of a lifetime of hard work, was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia (aka The Suicide Disease due to the intensity of the pain), and, most recently, My Beloved had thyroid cancer.
          I share these things so you’ll know that I haven’t been immune to dark days and that when I say I know life can be hard, I have some idea about life not always being full of sunshine and fair winds.
          But I also mention all that so I can say this: So what? Big deal. Virtually everyone has similar stories of hardship, pain, trauma, and heart-ache.
          I believe that I am a better person for having experienced each of those very unpleasant things. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone, but they happened. I can’t change that. I can focus on what lessons I can learn from each and can have empathy for others who are going through their own tough times.
          It isn’t the stories that matter to me. Not mine, and not yours.
          What matters to me is what I choose to do with the miracle of each new day of life. I can choose to make the most of it and enjoy and share all I can of the many blessings each day offers; or I can dwell on those sad stories and how unfair, cruel, and ugly people and life can be; or I can even squander each precious day worrying about a future that may or may not even happen, living for a tomorrow that never comes.
          Like everything else in life, the choices are mine. I won’t always be able to choose what happens to me and to those I love, but I WILL always be able to choose how I react to what happens, and what I do about it.
          With those choices comes an amazing life-transforming power.
          To make my life and my world better.
          Or not.
          May I choose wisely.

          • cho wan yau says:

            Yep I know. I am sorry to hear of all you have been through. Everyone has their own story, just because they don’t choose to share it does not mean they don’t have one.

            Most of the time I try to live life as you advise above but some of the time I feel rage. Betrayal by those closest to you and whom you loved above all else hurts the most. Yes I know everyone has been hurt in love, divorce is an everyday occurence, 1 in 2, now 1 in 8 for breast cancer, blah blah blah but that doesn’t lessen the pain I felt/feel.

            • russtowne says:

              Your pain is welcome here. I have known betrayal too. It crushed me for a long time. In time, I came to believe that such devastatingly hellish furnaces of life that people sometimes go through can bring into sharper focus to the person going through them the gifts that they have for the world. I know that may seem artificially-sweet to people going through awful times, but they are my truth. I would betray both of us and our potential friendship if I were to not share it. Thank you for reaching out and sharing what is going on for you.

  5. cho wan yau says:

    Last words: exactly which bit should I be grateful for, the recurrence, the being abandoned during chemo, the divorce, the heart failure from chemo not having to be on meds for life or the struggling to make ends meet. And please don’t be so trigger happy in labelling me with victim mentality. Maybe you have a lot to be grateful for but I don’t and neither does billions around the world, maybe even in your own country. Sorry but your posts are a bit ‘smug’. Now I will leave you alone and unfollow and not make any more ‘victim’ comments. Reality is brutal, the world is a cruel place for the majority, you are lucky to be in the minority …

    • russtowne says:

      May you find lasting joy, whether here or elsewhere. You are welcome to return at any time. I mean you no harm and am sorry if what I write has caused discomfort or pain to anyone. It is the exact opposite of my intent.

  6. cho wan yau says:

    If you don’t like people to disagree with your opinions then I suggest you click on the bit that needs comments approved first.

  7. cho wan yau says:

    I know. I apologise for my aggressive attitude, just going through the rage phase and sadly you were in the crossfire. I hope your wife is ok and will be restored to full health. Please send her my love.

    I will return when I feel less angry because I don’t want to come across as rude and a ‘hater’, because I am not.

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for your gracious reply to my last comment. Your anger is welcome here. You come across to me as someone who is in pain rather than as a hater. I know first-hand the pain of relationships can be proportional as to how much of yourself you gave to them, and how scary, disappointing, and maddening severe health relapses can be. My daughter has an incurable disease that has nearly almost killed her twice and she still has occasional relapses that badly shake me up. May you heal well and as quickly as possible–emotionally and physically. I look forward to your return.

  8. Judy says:

    Russ I think your post is wonderful. Like you say there is nobody in the world who hasn’t had dark days, but that doesn’t mean we should give up and let the world become an even worse place than it is. For every dark there is a light, isn’t that the law of nature ? While there are many people in the world that are a lot worse of than we are, I am sure they still find joy in something. A beautiful sunrise/sunset, a child laughing, birds chattering in the trees. Family, friends and even casual acquaintances bring joy into our lives when they smile at us or do something nice. Keep up the good work with your blog. Rather than reading, watching, hearing doom and gloom all the time it is lovely to read something uplifting and refreshing. I hope you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. 🙂

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for your kind comments and hopes for a very Merry Christmas and happy and healthy New Year, Judy. I wish the same for you and all your loved ones. I’m grateful for the many times throughout the year that you brightened my life.

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