Be kind, be gentle, be humble. Let others go first. Put others’ needs ahead of your own. Don’t worry about claiming credit for anything, you’ll get your due in time. Nice guys come out ahead in the end. That’s what I was taught.
This is an issue I’ve struggled with for a long time. By nature, and nurture, I’ve lived by the code described above, and it’s burned me. Over time, I’ve come to recognize that much of what I thought was goodness was actually weakness. And weakness isn’t just unfortunate, it’s morally wrong. Yes, avoiding violence and confrontation is generally a good thing. But if an innocent is being threatened, doing nothing isn’t morally neutral, but morally negative.
The same applies if you yourself are the innocent in the equation. Of course self-defense and protection from theft are right, but that also extends to sticking up for yourself in general. If someone slanders you, it’s your duty to establish the truth. If someone steals credit for something you did, you should absolutely make sure that the record is set straight. Humility is a virtue, but it involves lifting others up, not over-emphasizing yourself and your deeds, and giving others the benefit of the doubt regarding credit. Allowing clear untruths to persist isn’t humility. It’s dishonesty and cowardice.
Let’s break it down logically: Helping people is good, harming them is bad. When seeking to help people, remember that the people are composed of numerous individuals. You are one of those individuals, and helping or hurting you carries the same moral weight as helping or hurting anyone else (it can actually be more, since if you don’t take care of yourself, that hinders your ability to help others). Hurting someone is bad, and when you don’t stop someone from being hurt, even though you aren’t causing the hurt yourself, that’s still bad. By that logic, being weak and not preventing yourself from being harmed is immoral.
Respect your elders. Listen to authority. Pay taxes. Don’t say anything when others claim credit for what you’ve done. You know who’s saying that? People who stand to benefit from your abuse. Everyone who was exploited by the older generation wants you to respect their age, because now it’s their turn. Megalomaniacs want you to listen to authority because it gives them power. Government wants you to be a good compliant citizen because then they get to take all your money. And finally, bosses, coworkers, industry peers, etc. want to teach you “humility” so they can profit off of your hard work while simultaneously hiding their incompetence. Whenever someone is trying to sell you on not defending yourself and what’s yours, it’s because they’re trying to make you vulnerable to being wronged. That is evil.
Express love. Practice humility. Avoid conflict. But do none of those at the expense of your own wellbeing.