For years, history has marveled at the great feats of leaders and peoples, strange though, it is seldom noted the almost invisible everyday actions that have kept the spirit of humbleness and good alive since the dawn of time.
We speak of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall for example, but often overlook or barely ever truly grasp the yearning of separated families and friends to reunite.
For years, neighbors have smiled at each other, carried heavy loads into each other’s homes, consoled each other, and stood by each other. And that same invisible yearning of man to help his fellows has been and forever will be the cornerstone of any righteous society.
A couple thousand years ago, Jesus established the highest commandment, “Love thy neighbor”. He knew that if there were any hope for the sustainability of a society, it was in the simple everyday acts of little people.
“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
I would argue with that one Greek mind that we are rather our thoughts, and our thoughts may not always materialize into actions.
I would most certainly agree though, that what we repeatedly do does indeed have a decisive impact on what we become.
It is thus in this hope that I publish this article, the hope that if we as fellow men, could make a habit of doing good things, perhaps, someday, these habits may internalize to make us all overall better people, good people.
The beauty of an action resides in the invisible motivation that exists within, man’s enthusiasm to help his fellow man. The charity we offer others may never be returned to us, but may I remind you of the Ripple Effect; every action we do, good or bad, sends a ripple into the fabric of the world, and thus allows us to decide every day, what kind of a world we seek to establish.
You will find listed below 10 everyday good deeds, and I would only like to add that good deeds done for personal merit have to them a selfish origin, which makes them vile altogether. Rather, a good deed must always be done with an honest and open heart, not for any personal gain, but for the humble service of others.
1. Smile more! Smile at people on the street (not at night), at school, at work, on the bus, at the supermarket! A smile is an acceptable and wonderful gesture almost anywhere and the truth is, it really does brighten other people’s day as well as yours. It’s infectious, and the first person you’ll turn happy is actually yourself! Also, consider this, you never know for sure what kind of life someone’s leading, for all you know, your smile might just set the landslide victory against something as hopeless as suicide.
2. Offer to carry things for others. So truth is, with the rising trend of consumerism (and schools and colleges’ rising preference for heavy textbooks!) everyone’s carrying at least something around these days, and offering to help someone out with that daily load every once in a while can really let the person know that somewhere out there, there are still people like yourself that genuinely care about helping them out.
3. Surprise family members with snacks or drinks. If by any chance you happen to have a workaholic father like mine, you know for sure that he’s not going to stop for one second to even chew as much as a raisin before he finishes whatever he’s working on. Thing is, we’ve all at least had some time when we realized a family member was just working a bit too hard, and just to show we appreciate that extra effort, or that long enduring stream of hard work, I think a glass of water would be just wonderful!
Get creative, come up with snacks or maybe chop up some fruit, they’re almost guaranteed to appreciate it. Who knows, as far as modern work days go, you might just set the highlight for someone’s day!
4. Listen. It’s nothing hard, nothing new, nothing you’ve never been nagged about, but still, it’s essential and even sometimes (like when it’s really dreadfully boring), it might just be a good deed on your part. Say your friend’s been going through a lot lately, sure you’ve got your own problems, but really, providing that little extra support, lending an ear to an ailing friend, or maybe just listening to your grandma’s same old stories, could mean the world to them.
If you could count the number of people around you that are desperate for someone to give them the care to lend an ear, I’d place a good bet you’d have only counted half as many as there truly are. Listen to people, give them your time and attention, let them know they matter.
5. Make small-talk with someone you wouldn’t otherwise talk to. We all have this one person we see every day but who we’ve really never spoken to. It might be that janitor from work or school, that weird guy that nobody talks to, that new kid who’s having trouble “fitting in”, heck it might even be your next-door neighbor!
The matter at hand is that humans are social beings, and no matter how strong or independent they seem, they’re always in need of that daily dose of interaction. I’m not in any way implying that these people are your charity or that they should be grateful that your highness has stooped so low to talk to them.
All I’m saying is, a lot of people out there are lacking that daily interaction, and that little “good morning” won’t cost you more than a couple calories in return for helping your fellow man.
6. Compliment. So you’ve got this friend who’s always there for you, that guy who’s like a math genius, and that girl who’s wearing a brand new pair of earrings. What do they all have in common? They’d all like a compliment every now and then (unless that girl just spends her life in a mall and buys new earrings every day). With low-self-esteem complexes having reached a record high within the past decade, I think it’s important to reassure that friend that you do appreciate him, that kid that he is brilliant, and that girl that she really does look pretty (knowing that it isn’t the only criterion for her self-worth).
Everyone likes to be complimented from time to time, it boosts their confidence, helping to avoid depression and a number of psychological disorders. So for the sanity of the earth, a couple honest words of appreciation or admiration won’t cost you a nickel, in fact, you might actually gain some friends. Just make sure you don’t waste your time complimenting the already-inflated ego-centric types who really don’t care or deserve it.
7. Say “Thank You”! So this sounds more like a manners kind of thing, like what you were (hopefully) taught as a toddler, but the reason why in the name of all things good this ended up on the good deeds list is, simply put, because the genuine display of gratitude is an integral part of every Good Man’s code of conduct.
I’m not telling you to recite “Thank you” over every single occasion fitting, but rather to live, eat, breathe, sleep and maybe even snore with an awareness and appreciation of the labor of others.
If you can’t think of at least a couple of people that deserve that kind of appreciation, I’d recommend you take a clinical screening test for sociopathy.
8. Give someone a surprise text message telling them how much you appreciate them. Ah yes, the positive side of pop culture (who knew it even existed!).
Surprise someone with a special text every now and then. It’s made my day almost every time someone’s done that for me! Use every bit of the objects and the technology that surround you in an effort to help and empower your fellow man.
9. Be generous. Stinginess is the mark of the beast, keep that in mind. Whenever you start thinking of preserving your own personal savings as something superior to putting those savings in good use by helping others, let that sentence just flash by you for at least a moment or two, if you don’t feel the least bit guilty, may I again suggest, take a screening for sociopathy.
It doesn’t matter how much money you donate, it matters how much of your own wants and needs you are giving up to help others.
Generosity must not always relate to monetary value; time, I believe is a donation as well.
The Franciscans believe in only saving what little you need to survive and donating all the rest to the benefit of the needy. As extreme as that sounds, I’ve found it not only brings a smile upon the faces of the helped, but also enriches the lives of the helping.
10. Spread the light. If, like me, you have been pledged to the peaceful service of the glory of God almighty, bathed with holy water, and anointed with oil, you may also know that you have a duty to spread the light that you’ve been given. A very telling analogy on the matter is the saying,
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
I’ve personally taken the habit of tweeting Bible verses and otherwise simple words on God, positivity, charity, hope, among other such topics, and though it often feels like a useless burden, once in a while, someone sends me a text, a message, or somehow informs me that my tweets have helped them, guided them or even inspired them, and without exception, it warms my heart to the very core. (You know yourselves!)
I’m not telling you to shove your religious or spiritual philosophy down anyone’s throat, religion is something that must be freely accepted. I can’t seem to stress enough on that. What I’m saying is that, in the least, we have a duty in reminding people of God’s love for them.
Also, don’t ever judge people because there’s always more than meets the eye with human beings.
More than anything, it’s about setting people back on track towards the light, and towards the purpose that God has assigned them.
“The beauty of an action resides in the invisible motivation that exists within, and the graceful solemnity with which it is given.”
Please feel free to comment, like, reblog, or just start a side-talk with me on the matter, always looking forward to hearing from you!