“Do good, and good will come to you.” Do you believe that? Do you trust that you somehow get punished for doing a good deed? Don’t most of us believe that helping others is actually a path to spirituality and even personal happiness? In fact, volunteering and doing others favors has proven to increase our health, helps us feel socially connected and purposeful.
When you tried to do the right thing as a kid, were you labeled a “goodie two-shoes”? So why do people use belittling terms to berate you for your good behavior? Did the kids in your class attack you out of jealousy or resentment?
Kids. “Don’t worry, mom. I think all your chins are pretty.” Ouch. Well, we all know that parenting is mostly just informing kids how many more minutes they have of something. I’ll bet before you had kids, you didn’t know you could ruin someone’s day by saying, “Get dressed.”
I have been ridiculed and even taunted for trying to do the right thing. Have you? Perhaps you once went above and beyond at work. Now your co-workers view you as a threat and try to bring you down a couple of pegs.
Know this, sweet friends: Many are simply threatened by the good. Just remember that doing the right thing is never the wrong bidding. If you see an injustice or indecency in the world, stand up for what is just. If it comes with a price, so be it. Perhaps you fear that you may be labeled or treated with contempt. Speak out and do it anyway.
Practice turning your focus on others instead of yourself. Sometimes what feels like a punishment comes from the very person you did the good deed for. You held the door for her, even though you were in a hurry, and not so much as a “Thank you.” You held up traffic to let him in the lane, much to the chagrin of the driver behind you, and he does not even acknowledge it with a hand wave. Look, I’m not suggesting you’re a bad driver. I’m sure that mailbox totally swerved into your lane. Oh, and speaking of driving…if I have to parallel park, don’t invite me.
But seriously, at times even friends become hostile when we are simply trying to help them. Perhaps you took someone into your home, and he stole from you. Does “No good deed go unpunished”? But how many good deeds have you done that did not lead to damage or distress? Do you take note of those? It seems that we have some internal bias toward hurtful events, and we overlook all the ones with positive outcomes.
Of course, we have all heard tragic stories of those who drowned while trying to save others. Is it not the risk involved in that endeavor that makes it so exceptional? Sadly, there are those who may try to undermine your kindness simply out of spite. He may have become suspicious if you seemed overly generous. She thinks her candle will shine brighter if she blows yours out. Human nature can be puzzling at times. Your reward, my friends, may come from doing good for those who may never return the favor.
Maybe you don’t realize how much you actually swear until you’re in a situation where you can’t. You refuse to curse, though everyone else is using salty language. Now he assumes you are making him look bad in front of the group. She thinks you are trying to make yourself look righteous at her expense. Don’t fret. People with a sharp tongue will eventually cut themselves.
Sadly, adherence to conformity usually wins out over being honorable or noble-minded. She dropped something. You bend down to pick it up and she accused you of trying to steal it. You lent him money and now he keeps asking for more. Yikes. Remember when you used to drop something and just pick it up. Now you just stare at it, contemplating if you need it anymore. Ever notice how people never pay you back with the same mood they use to borrow money? You want to see some real “social distancing”? Lend someone money and ask for it back.
But truly, do you do good deeds with intention or for attention? Trust me, sweet friends. The benefits of doing good far outweigh the cost to you. Simply stop keeping score. Do not expect the “Thank you” from the stranger you did a kindness for. If it is a loved one you aim to help, ask what is needed and when. Do not always assume to know.
Here’s my good deed for the day: In the line at Target, there was a little old lady in front of me, $78 of shopping but her card was declined. I was feeling very generous – especially at this time of year – and you’ve got to help out…so I helped her put it all back. Heh.
But in all seriousness, you can never create happiness on the unhappiness of others. Spend a part of each day being thoughtful. Believe instead that “no good deed goes unrewarded.” You can never do a kindness too soon. You never know how soon it may be too late.