What's in it for me?
That seems to be a recurring theme for most people.
There is a sense of satisfaction when you are kind, and there is no hidden agenda or ulterior motive. Of course, that type of purity in action is rare, at least in my opinion.
This is the way I perceive the motivations of too many people:
Compensation. I want something for my efforts. This is the way life works. Of course, it is even better if I can get something for nothing. That means I am the winner, the smart one.
I do not want to be that person who is always working an angle. I do not want others to question my motives, to be leery of what my actions may eventually require from them in return.
I know, I am at a dichotomy in my thinking. That is part of the problem with moving the concept of living a kind life from the ivory tower of the heart to the blood and guts reality of day to day life. Because we have all been burnt in life or at least I have. I have had what I thought were kindnesses, graces extended to me only to find that the cost was extremely high and artfully hidden. At the same time, I want to do what I can, where I can, when I can, with what I have for others, for this world in which we live and do so with no strings attached.
I am not perfect; I am all too aware of that fact. So, what I must learn to do is go forward - on a day to day basis - and not allow the pains and difficulties I carry memory of to affect me to the point that I, too, am attaching all those invisible strings that strangle the good intent.