Help yourself by helping others..a cliche or words to live by?

I've seen a lot of things in my life. A lot of good and enough bad.

It never ceases to amaze me how complex life can be. I cannot even count the times I set out on a specific course for a very particular reason only to have something entirely unexpected come about. I read a short story about how a person helped another in need despite her own position of woe. During the course of helping the stranger, she became enlightened about how helping someone else actually improved her own outlook. Help yourself by helping others... sounds like a public service ad or a bumper sticker at least. But I am certain it is valid.

Insert Disclaimer Here-

Alright, throw out the caveats up front. There are people out there who will take advantage of a giving person. They will see your "weakness" and make every effort to drain your soul. You have to be able to recognize this person and get some distance when necessary, but that is an advanced discussion. You can't let a spiritual vampire rule how you conduct yourself or how you make decisions.

Lets go back to the part about making all the preparations for one thing, only to have it lead to something entirely different.

I love to write, I love to read quite a bit too. I wrote and published my first book several years ago. It was a total journey. I thought I was just going to publish a book. Looking back I didn't then nor do I now really comprehend what this means. (That is another complete issue in itself.)

What I ended up with were relationships, I met and continue to meet some quite fascinating people. I have had meaningful in depth conversations as a result. I discovered, faced and even challenged my own beliefs. I found a place where I could at least momentarily escape my mind, the list goes on.

One of the people I came in contact with as a result of this particular project early on offered to assist in the process. I gladly accepted. He offered me help. Down the road he admitted that his helping me inspired him to begin writing his own book and he did. I don't know yet if he ever finished it but the help he gave me helped himself.

The inspiration I gained from his belief in me may have been what helped him to relight his own fire. This is the good stuff I would like to dwell on. I will continue to help others and encourage anyone who might take the time to read this to do as well, I have no idea where it might lead. That is part of what makes life an exciting adventure. Little actions by many people can make a difference.