The Difference Between the Selfless and the Self-Serving

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In today’s world, with social media taking over, few things are kept behind the scenes. When it comes to helping others, let’s leave a little love to the imagination. Not everything needs to be documented.

During the holiday season, many individuals have a desire to give back to their community. While it is a great thing that people want to volunteer, the question of it being limited to the holiday season remains. 

This time of year, many families decide to help others by buying gifts for kids who wouldn’t otherwise receive any, raise money for shelters or make care packages for the homeless. 

The extra love during the holidays is by no means a bad thing, but for those whose desire to give back only comes around once a year, there is room for improvement. 

When it comes to volunteering there are two kinds of people: the selfless and the self-serving. 

The selfless are those who volunteer because they want to bring joy to others and help make someone else’s life a little bit better. Those who don’t need to prove themselves to feel content about who they are as a person. 

The self-serving, however, are those who volunteer not because they want to make a difference, but because they want others to see them as selfless. Those who document all their “good works” on social media. Those who volunteer with the intent of seeking validation from their peers. 

Let us volunteer because we want to make a difference in someone else’s life—not because we want to improve our own”

The same thing goes when it comes to the holidays. There are many people who volunteer because they genuinely want to spread some love during the season, yet there are also many who simply do it because it’s what everyone else is doing. 

It is important to understand why you are volunteering. Volunteering is rewarding and it’s okay to feel good after making an impact on someone’s life, but the overall intent should not be to raise your own self esteem. 

Nonetheless, it’s awesome that people are proud of who they are and what they do for others. But, the second that post goes up on Instagram of you handing a burger to a homeless person, the act gears away from selflessness. 

There is no need for documenting your goodness to the world, as the purest goodness happens behind the scenes”

Let us volunteer because we see the need for more goodness in the world—not because we want to look good. Let us volunteer because we want to make a difference in someone else’s life—not because we want to improve our own. 

At the end of the day, serving once is better than never serving at all. Every kind act, no matter how small, ultimately does make a difference. However, next time you do something selfless and find yourself pulling out your phone or bragging about it to a friend, I dare you to take a step back. Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment for yourself. There is no need for documenting your goodness to the world, as the purest goodness happens behind the scenes. 

With a society constantly evolving  and the media taking over, selfless people can be rare to find. People care so much about how they are perceived, they forget what it means to be a good human being. I challenge you to be that rare find. Be the odd one out. Be the hidden gem. Be selfless.