Good Deeds

Social media is a wonderful place to see all of the wonderful things that people do.  Some people like to post pictures and stories of other people doing good things.  Some people like to post pictures and stories of themselves (or their children – which is kind of the same thing, don’t you agree?) doing good things.  Regardless of how these do-good stories get up there, there they are…good deeds, all over social media.

Now, we can spend time talking about what it might mean when someone posts stuff about themselves or their children, because there is likely quite a bit of grist for the mill on that, but that’s not what we are going to focus on today.  Today we are going to talk about doing good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds.

Some of you may have heard of the word “altruism”.  Our friend Merriam-Webster defines it as “an unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others”.  Now that sounds really nice, right?  Doing something selflessly to make someone else feel better.  That’s awesome!  And what could be better than that!

Well, what if doing something good not only makes the receiver feel good but also the giver? What if doing good deeds creates a much bigger ripple effect than previously recognized?  What if doing a good thing makes the other person AND YOU feel good?  Is that a bad thing? Is that a wrong thing? Or is that a wonderful, beautiful, miraculous thing?  TWO people feeling good for the price of one.  Seems like a win/win to me.

There are some philosophies and religions that believe that doing something for someone else without any sort of positive gains is the only meaningful way to do good things.  But does that really exist?  Do you know anyone, and I mean anyone, that can honestly and genuinely say that they did a good thing and that they got nothing, absolutely nothing from it?

Of course you don’t!  Because that’s not how it works!

Pure altruism is a myth and a silly one at that.  Why is it a good and noble thing to do something that only makes on person feel better?  Isn’t it better and more noble to do something that makes TWO people feel better and therefore creates a double ripple effect?  Because when the doer feels good, he is more likely to go do more good.  And when the receiver feels good, he is more likely to go do more good.  The power to spread good is truly exponential.

Doing good deeds is a win/win, all the way around, every time, all day long. Sure there are times when the do-gooder feels resentful and frustrated, but underneath all of that yuck there is still an element of pride and self-satisfaction that he did something good, even if he says it was done out of spite and only reinforces his belief that she’s better than the other person or that the other person is a jerk.  It still, in some way, makes him feel validated and therefore better.

So go do more good things!  Do as many as you can, as often as you can.  It doesn’t have to cost you anything.  It can be simply saying good morning or bless you when someone sneezes.  Hold the door for someone.  Help someone cross the street.  Be kind. Always.

Because other people deserve to be treated with kindness, love, and respect.  And you, yes YOU do too!  And the fastest way to get it is to give it.