Everyday we think about how much our heroes and role models sacrifice for the people around them. When I put more thought into it though, I realize that they benefit from their actions almost as much as we do. It’s more of a concept of “give and take” rather than “give and give some more”. Although this is almost throwing a pessimistic twist onto the doing of good deeds and the idea of charity, I think that there is more lying underneath the surface. Every one of our actions is to benefit ourselves in one way or another it just happens that others benefit along the way.
When I help someone, I often do it because I feel like being a good person. I do enjoy helping people, and that makes me sound like I am a very giving person, and I really can be. When you think about it in a different light though, I am really helping other people to benefit myself, to make me feel better. An example of this is community service; I need to have a certain amount of community service hours to get into the college I want to get into. Does volunteering to help myself make me a bad person? Absolutely not, however one cannot call themselves Ghandi when they decide to make a difference in their community. I find a hard time listening when someone raves about some guy helping so many people in his community because he’s getting credit for it and he knows he’s a good person.
Another example of benefiting from helping other people is the whole concept of getting into heaven. Many religions base their beliefs on the ultimate goal of getting into the golden gates. Throughout my life I have been preached to about being a “doer of good deeds” so I could ultimately reach heaven. So one would think that with all these church programs reaching out to the community they’re performing selfless acts; I believe that as great as these acts are it is not fair to assume they are getting nothing from what they’re doing.
I know that I seem like a pessimistic, glass half empty kind of person. In reality though, I think everyone needs to take a step back and look at the big picture. I think that it is time to realize that every action we commit is in one way benefiting ourselves, and that there is no such thing as a selfless action.
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