There is a thing happening on the interwebs at the moment about a certain blogger travelling to a third world country to promote a cause. There has been a newspaper article written and some blog posts and a Twitter stoush. I don't know the details well enough to accurately write about it, so I won't. Reading some comments and hearing things about charity has set off some thought processes in my head, though, and now I just have to write about it. I was also inspired by the always inspiring Eden.
We live in a funny society. We're being told that we need to cover ourselves in brand name clothing, logos blaring across our chests. We need to purchase certain cosmetics, cause after all, we're worth it. We live in a society where we are constantly told we need to make ourselves feel better in any way possible – running the whole gamut from rampant consumerism to eating well and meditating. We're constantly fed the idea: "Do what you can to find happiness." Except when it comes to one thing.... charity.
If you attempt to help someone either through a charity or doing a good deed, we're told not to talk about it or it's seen as boasting. It's not uncommon to hear: "They're just doing it make themselves feel good." "They're just a smug do-gooder."
So, it's OK to be smug and feel good about your 60 inch plasma and your new Louis Vuitton bag, but throw a couple of dollars to a charity or help your little old nextdoor neighbour with their shopping and you can't feel happy about it? It seems crazy to me. What's wrong with feeling good about doing something good? Maybe we could spread the idea that helping and doing good feels good and perhaps more people might give it a whirl.
Why do we have to feel guilty about feeling good about doing what we can to make someone else's life just a little bit better? Can't we make our short time on this planet a good time for all?
Then when people attempt to do something good, they're accused of not going the whole way. Their motives are questioned and it's not good enough. They could have done it better, they should have done it this way, what they're doing is useless. For goodness sake, no wonder there's so few people attempting to do good deeds, why bother when you're just going to get run down.
We're told when we travel: "Don't give money to beggars it just encourages them. Give to aid agencies who can handle it properly." Then we're told, "Only X% of aid money gets through to the people who needs it." So, no wonder we keep our money in our pockets (and save it for the cosmetics, because we're worth it after al).
Let's encourage the good people in the world to do good things, no matter how big or small, let's not be so mistrusting. We've all got instincts, let's use them to do what's right. Sure, keep questioning, but don't discourage. Now, get out of that chair and do something nice for someone, somewhere and make sure you feel good about it. Then repeat and repeat.
*Yes, I admit that my ideas are naive, but life isn't as complicated as we'd sometimes like to make out.