Love Anyway

There is a quotation often attributed, incorrectly, to Mother Teresa. One segment of it reads, “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.” Certainly the generosity expressed here is reminiscent of the blessed sister. But they were not her words.

I quoted a portion of the same text about a year ago. At the time the attribution I saw, and used, was incorrect. Since then I’ve learned the truth, and want to share with you the whole, original version. It was written by Dr. Kent M. Keith.

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001


8 thoughts on “Love Anyway

  1. shoreacres

    A lot of truth here. And, I had to smile when this posting reminded me of something Mark Twain once said: “Be good, and you will be lonesome.” I think he might have been willing to add, “But do good, anyway.”

    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Yes, I expect so. There are a lot of additions we could easily make, I think. But even in original form, it’s one of those things I could read regularly and nod my head in agreement.

      Thanks for taking a look today.

  2. thegiftofbeard

    I have seen this before and it was attributed to someone else (maybe not even Mother Teresa). Credit where credit is due and thanks for sharing!

    It would do a lot of us well to remember that doing the right thing is often a thankless proposition at best, offering little more than our own knowledge that we did the right thing.

    It would probably do others a service to even consider this type of giving/selflessness/altruism in this day and age. All too often it seems that our culture is more concerned about the return on their investment of this type; praise, accolades, ego-fluffling, etc.

    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      I do believe our natural impulses compete. Self-preservation is imperative, and we all have that instinct. But I believe there is a second level of that, which is stronger in some than others. The second level is the understanding that your good health is also tied to my well-being. That understanding may or may not be conscious, and of course what defines my well-being is multi-faceted. It makes me feel good to give money to a cause, but it also makes my pocket poorer. Which one shall win out?

      Not sure where this line of thought is going…

      Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments.

      1. thegiftofbeard

        Self-preservation is such a second thought in this day in age I think. We have so little thought, let alone effort, to put into providing for the basic needs of day to day life anymore (painting with a big brush here). Not saying that is right or wrong on any level (sure, we can all stop at Mac’s on the way home and grab a bag of processed food product), it just feels like a false security blanket to me.

        I like your thought about the “second level”, to me, that is the basis for real community. Our well-being is intrinsically linked at all levels, our inner well-being, interpersonal relationships, regional, national, even global. We SHOULD be aware of how our actions affect others, probably far more than we are. My words and actions spread out like ripples on a pond, interacting with other ripples, in a gradual chain reaction, acting and reacting.

  3. Jim in IA

    Over and over, we see two sides to humanity. On one is evil and darkness. On the other is good and light. Most of us see the brighter more positive side. But, not enough of it.

    When given a chance to choose, I think most people choose the good side. I’m really glad for that.


We love comments! Tell us what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s