More random thoughts today. This time it’s about giving. And doing stuff for other people.
This came up in a recent mentoring session I had, and in a blog post I read recently. In both cases, the person I was talking to (or reading, as the case may be) was struggling with the idea of giving or doing things for people “selflessly”, meaning the giver gets nothing from the giving. They both seemed to feel that it’s not “true” giving if you get something out of it.
But here’s what I see on the internet and from other people I talk to:
“I do it for others because it gives me joy.”
“I do it because I enjoy it.”
“I love giving compliments because it makes me feel good to make other people feel good.”
“I love it because I love seeing others smile.”
The thing is, I don’t really believe there is any such thing as selfless giving. Even if you give and you don’t really want to, you have a reason, and that reason is probably something that gives you some measure of satisfaction, or pleasure, or just a shot of happy juice.
And honestly, I really believe there is no better reason to do something for someone else. Joy is not so common that we shouldn’t celebrate doing whatever we can to bring it to others…and ourselves. Are we not worth it? Do we not deserve to feel harmlessly happy when others are happy because of something we did?
A random little girl gave me these flowers one day on Valentines Day. She had a whole bucket and was handing them out to strangers (under her mom’s watchful eye). Getting them made me feel good, and what made me feel even better is to see how good it made her feel to give something to someone.
Another example. I know I’ve gone on and on about my rocks. But I will tell you, I dropped some off at the park today and saw that all the others I put there last time have been found and taken! It made me feel good to think that something I made may have made some stranger feel better about their day, or brought a smile to their face, or maybe just brightened up their daily walk.
Taking pleasure in making someone else happy, making someone smile, or giving them something they need, or anything like that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, in my opinion. I believe it’s part of caring for ourselves as much as we care for others around us, and we shouldn’t rate ourselves so low that we put ourselves down or punish ourselves for finding joy in the giving of joy to others.
So today, I’m going to go give things to random people, whether it’s a smile, or a wave, or a painted rock, and I’m going to feel good about it, because I’m worth it.