What is the point of doing good in the world? What’s wrong with going along with my day keeping to myself, with little to no care or interaction with others? I don’t know about you but for many years I could almost remain so focused on my own self-centeredness I sometimes forgot that there was even another world out there. The concept of stopping to smell the roses or open doors for strangers wasn’t even close to being on my radar because I was too consumed with my own story.
Then the brilliant day came when the light of connection shined down on me. An idea came to mind that just maybe we might be somewhat connected with our fellow man and that my life wasn’t the centre of the universe. Not to say I was a bad person or anything, but for so many years I had let my big ego run wild and control all of my decisions simply because I was just too scared to approach life through any vulnerability. People really scared me and so my constant fear based mindset made it easy to overlook the world and people around me, unless I had to interact with you for some reason, of course at this time I would consider you a threat and question your every move.
This sort of delusion never gave me any desire to relate or connect with others because I was always in a state of defence, a me against the world posture (which always fails by the way). But eventually I got sick and tired of being alone in this battle for life, or what I thought it to be, and began seeking knowledge and guidance from others with more wisdom and success in life. The biggest complaint that arose during dialogue was that I was to0 hyper-vigilant to the world, creating way too much stress out of nothing, plagued with the disease of self-centeredness. I needed help fast or else I would continue moving forward in life scared to death, never trying new things, never striving for bigger and better things. Then one day a kind mentor of mine told me to “get off your ass and go help someone less fortunate than you”. I wanted to punch him out, how dare he tell me to go help someone else out, I was the one who needed help and attention! So I stormed away from our interaction and took no action.
Weeks later still feeling stuck, I started volunteering. This foreign concept took some time to adjust to, especially considering it took valuable time away from me that I was usually spend dwelling on past events or feeling sorry for myself. It even lead me to feelings of pride and accomplished to when I saw faces light up with appreciation of my work who really did need a hand up and out! It was one of the best things I could have done in my life that really started to impact my perspective on others. The more time I put into others, the even less time I had for self pity and destructive thinking about past mistakes, and the more sense of accomplishment and satisfaction I had with the day. I don’t know about you, but for someone with with very little self esteem, I craved emotional reward, and helping others really gave that to me.
The more I work with people the more I see this to be a common thread among us. We focus far to much on ourselves, and grow little problems into mental disasters that need an army of troops to control and remedy. Fortunately there is a way out, and this shift in awareness is currently taking place. There are groups sprouting up all over the place that focus on connection rather than segregation, an empowerment movement that reaches worldwide is definitely in the works. Leaders like Shari Arison have created a global campaigns to get people to start thinking about the impact of positive interaction with each other with events like Good Deeds Day. Although this is a large event with big a picture focus, you can make just as much impact in your own community with simple gestures like smiling at people when you walk down the street. Simple acts of acknowledge goes a long way, and the benefits are exponential. A simple ‘hello’ to a stranger interrupts their own story they are telling themselves for a brief moment and gives them a small taste of appreciation in their day, and that just might be the random positive event that impacts their path for the better!
What kind of things do you do to help others?
For more information on Good Deeds Day, read an article Shari wrote about Doing Good!