I was watching an episode of Friends today where Joey says there is no selfless good deed. I got to thinking about it and I think he’s on to something.
I enjoy helping others. It makes me happy when I’m the cause of someone smiling, or laughing or if I’m able to ease someone’s hurt or sadness. YES, it makes me feel good. I want people to feel better, have better, know they’re better because I didn’t always feel that way in my life, and I didn’t think I could find it through people. I work for a company and my title is Client Services. My role is to make our clients feel good about our company, our staff, our quality and honesty in handling their projects. I feel good when I accomplish these goals. I don’t feel at all guilty about doing a good job as an employee. I help people for a living. For me, it’s not enough. I want to help on a more personal level. While helping our clients is worthy, it’s business.
My question is why is it so terrible to feel good about helping others? While Joey is saying there is no selfless good deed, I don’t think he thinks it’s a bad thing. Phoebe seems focused on finding a selfless good deed, but struggles with how to accomplish that goal. She finally comes to the conclusion that if you don’t like the thing you’re giving, then it’s selfless because you don’t benefit. But, you do. No matter what good deed you do, you benefit emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s obvious why you benefit emotionally. Feeling good emotionally lends to feeling good physically, and feeling good emotionally and physically helps our mental well-being. You can say helping others bring us hope, and energizes us individually and as a whole, and we want to repeat that feeling. No one has to know what I did or what I’m doing. The feeling is good no matter who knows. But, it’s still no selfless. I know I did it. There are times you have to tell others, which isn’t bad, is it? What if you’re organizing a group to give to an organization. Isn’t this website a way of me helping others? I hope so, although, I don’t really know. I know it makes me feel good to be able to share my experiences and how I dealt with them and how I still deal with them. Life is messy. That’s my favorite saying.
What kind of society have we turned into where it’s NOT OK to feel good about ourselves when going out of our way for others? Are we supposed to feel guilty when we do nice things for others? If we brag about our good deeds or are arrogant about them, then I understand. Paying it forward is so important to me because I think we can change the world one person at a time or one good deed at a time. That doesn’t require praise from others. In the mornings, I have to drive in pretty heavy traffic, and there are opportunities for me to let other morning drivers in the long line of cars all trying to get to work or school. I let people in because I know that at most people’s core, people are good, and will pay it forward, even if it’s not conscious. They will let other weary drivers in the long, stressful line and so on. That means less stress while dealing with a lot of cars on the way to work and going home from work. Try it if you haven’t. No one is getting anywhere any faster than you or me. If you think that, then you’re probably going to be upset every single morning, and why start your day off that way? Take a deep breath and see what happens. But, wait. You may not ever know what your kindness does for other drivers, but I promise it happens. I know when someone lets me in, I always let someone else in because I hope that person will pay it forward.
Being a good person isn’t something to be ashamed of, right? No, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I strive to be a good person. I don’t look for someone to tell me I’m a good person or that I’m doing good things. If you look to others for validation that you’re a good person, you’ll be disappointed more than you’ll be validated. Of course, you’ll have supporters. But, don’t seek praise or expect praise for doing something good. That is the point of being a good person. Arrogance and self-entitlement tend to get judged, while those who are humble and quiet are celebrated or appreciated.
I’ve been very lucky these last 4 years, because my boyfriend, Jamie, will do anything for me. He has endured hardships because of my physical limitations, and there were so many times I thought he would leave because it’s painful to be physical often with him. I know this is personal, but part of my blog is addressing the hard stuff. I know there are so many of you out there who feel ugly or useless or less valuable because of the activities you can’t do often, yet long to do. Intimacy is a core element of a relationship. He seems to support and love me anyway, and it’s appreciated and makes me love him more. He doesn’t ask for praise or cheering because he accepts me. He is just that kind of guy. In the years before surgery, and since, he has done whatever he could to make my life easier. He gets my coffee. He puts my stuff in the car. He makes my food at night. He doesn’t feel he has to… he wants to. When we hug, he squats so we’re the same height so it doesn’t hurt my neck. Same with kissing. We hold hands when we’re in public, and at night in bed. All those things are so important. If you feel you’re not giving enough, sit down with your partner and make sure they know how you’re feeling and to find out how they’re feeling about things. Communication is key in a relationship where someone isn’t fully capable physically.
I saw this on Facebook the other day and it spoke to me.
For couples so eager to call it quits and throw in the towel on your relationships because everything isn’t “perfect”… here is some food for thought. Lifelong commitment is not what most people think it is. It’s not waking up every morning to make breakfast and eat together. It’s not cuddling in bed until both of you fall asleep, peacefully, at night. It’s not a clean home filled with laughter and lovemaking, everyday. It’s someone who steals all the covers . It’s slammed doors and a few harsh words, at times. It’s stubbornly disagreeing and giving each other the silent treatment until your hearts heal…and, then…FORGIVENESS! It’s coming home to the same person, everyday, that you know LOVES and CARES about you in spite of (and because of) who you are. It’s laughing about the one time you accidentally did something stupid. It’s about dirty laundry and unmade beds WITHOUT finger pointing. It’s about helping each other with the hard work of life! It’s about swallowing the nagging words instead of saying them out loud. It’s about eating the cheapest and easiest meal you can make and sitting down together at a late hour to eat because you both had a crazy day. It’s when you have an emotional breakdown and your Love lays with you and holds you and tells you everything is going to be okay…and you BELIEVE them. It’s about still loving someone even though, sometimes, they make you absolutely insane. Loving someone is not easy….sometimes it’s extremely hard; but it’s amazing and comforting and one of the BEST things you’ll ever experience!
I am getting better every day. Yesterday I was able to go to a movie, and dinner and Friday, Jamie and I resumed our Friday night date night by going to dinner at our favorite restaurant. It felt good. I overdid it last night, but it was well worth it. Today, on Father’s Day, I wasn’t able to participate in the activities, BUT, I didn’t feel too badly because it’s about Jamie and Bella (his daughter). There is nothing more important to me than him getting to spend time with his daughter as much as possible before she’s off the college. She’ll be a Junior this year, so time is running out. It still hurts to put shirts on. They have to be specific kinds, and swallowing is still tough, but better. I am still struggling to shave parts of my body. Today marks 60 days since surgery. I keep thinking I’m good to go, but I’m still healing, and will be for another 10 months. It’s hard for me to take it easy, which is evidenced by my pace during the work week. I busted my butt all last week and by Thursday, I HIT A WALL. But, the difference is that I came home Thursday and rested. I was exhausted on Friday, but it was better. Jamie reminded me that I’m not healed all the way and that I needed to be gentle on myself. Last week was a success, and being able to go to dinner and a movie was a definite success. Getting out of the house is vitally important to your well-being and physicality. If you can, do a little. But, also be patient with your recovery. It is possible to overdo it. I know. I do it way more than I should.
Recovery is not a race. It’s journey and a story. It’s your personal story, and if you feel you can, share it because there is probably someone who will appreciate it. I know I appreciate it when I can read a story about someone’s struggles and triumphs in their journey to health. Thank you to those who have shared their story.
Today, Jamie got to spend much needed time with Bella, and they are so close, and it’s beautiful to watch.
Also, a shoutout to Deea for sending me GRUT. He’s the cutest little dude. If you’re not familiar, he comes from the movies – Guardians of the Galaxy, and I just love him!
A video of how one of our puppies, Parker, reacted to Grut.