What do you think of when you think of Goodness?
Several years back, many more now when I think about the actual occasion, I told a friend about a woman who I thought was not a very kind person but who showed great compassion to someone else by offering him shelter after Hurricane Katrina. He asked: “did she tell everyone about it?” My response: “Well, yes, she did.”
My friend is very smart, very compassionate, and very observant. He said: “If you tell everyone about your good deed, your good deed becomes less a good deed and more a pat on the back for you. If you do your good deed and no one knows, that’s a good deed.”
His words resonated with me. If you do a good deed and no one knows then it’s only between you and the person you’ve helped. You are not seeking appreciation or a pat on the back. You’ve done something good and that is it’s own reward. Shouldn’t it be?
For 14 years, my friend’s words have resonated with me. If I do good, I try not to boast because it undermines what I’ve done simply by making it about me. Doing good should not be self-aggrandizement.
What do you think?