What motivates you to do things for other people?

Are you doing things for others because it's helpful and good for them or are you doing it because it makes you happy?

There is a major difference between the two decision making processes - condition.

"Why does it matter?"- You may be thinking out loud right now.

It matters a lot actually. It affects your relationships with others and yourself greatly.  

You see, when you do things because you BELIEVE it's helpful, you have just created an emotional contract between you and the receiver. However, only you agreed to the terms in that contract. The moment you deliver your gesture to them, you ASSUMED they accepted your contract. Then you started to fulfilled that unsigned contract, expect them to react to your "kindness" a certain way that would fulfill your value and emotional needs. When they don't behave the way you had imagine (expected), you started to have negative emotions such as anger, hurt or resentment toward them AND yourself such as regret, embarrassment and anger. Now you've just given that person the power to control your emotions unconsciously.

In the real world, if a contract is not read and signed by both parties, then you don't have an agreement. This applied to your emotional contract. Your receiver can not be held responsible to your belief system and definitely not responsible to your negative emotions if you did not express the boundaries of the condition to them first. Everyone of us have unique set of values and beliefs that guide us to behave in a certain way. There is no right or wrong way but difference. Of course, there are certain behaviors that are more aligned with our social norms but it doesn't make it the only way. This applies to family relationships (especially between parents and children), couple relationships, friendships, and even your work relationships.

When you do things because you are thankful that you have more than others, you believe the cause of act or it makes you happy to give, you are in full control of your emotions. Because how others response no longer matters to you. Your emotional needs have been fulfilled when you take the action. You chose to take action that serves your need while it's good for others too. I think it's a win-win situation. Try it the next time you want to doing something for others, ask yourself "why am I doing this?" and understand your intention first. This is a sure way to improve your relationship with others and yourself!