Recently it’s stuck me that we are a very me-centric society. It’s all about crafting the perfect image, finding that dream job and making sure that numero uno is always happy. Now I’m not saying that the pursuit of happiness is wrong per say, but I do think there’s room for improvement in our current way of thinking. This year I want to make a conscious effort to give back to my community. Now I’m not going to magically become Mother Theresa, but a small effort can go a long way. If you are like me and are looking for some motivation, take a leaf from Taylor Swift’s new book.
Taylor has been on a good deed rampage this past year. You can’t bat an eyelash without hearing about how she did something totally awesome and thoughtful for yet another Swiftie. Tay Tay gave one lucky lady close to $2,000 towards her student loan debt, crashed another fan’s bridal shower, and visited another with leukemia for an impromptu piano duet. She also figured out who her top fans were and got them personalized Christmas gifts, perhaps she is secretly St. Nick?
While the cynic in you is thinking, “Snooze, she’s probably only doing it for the publicity.” I would encourage you to look beyond the celebrity factor and into the human factor. Some of her good deeds are just simply practicing the art of thoughtfulness. She is following in the footsteps of plenty of other celebrities like Oprah and Sandra Bullock to name a few, and I’m certainly not going to complain about more positive stories making their way into my news stream.
It’s hard to forget that Oprah built an entire school in South Africa or that Sandra gave two million dollars collectively to the Haiti & Japan Relief Funds but those kinds of good deeds take mega money.
So what can you do if you don’t have deep pockets or bags of money sitting around? Volunteering your time can be a great way to give back and it’s free. Check out Volunteer.gov for opportunities in your area. Simple things like paying for the cup of coffee for the next person in line, doing a favor for a friend, putting extra money in a parking meter or even joining a kindness challenge such as KindSpring can also put some pretty big ripples into the pond.
It also feels pretty darn good too. According to numerous experts, the act of giving actually makes you feel better about yourself. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside says, “People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” because “When you’re kind to others, you feel good as a person—more moral, optimistic, and positive.” Pretty basic stuff really. Do good- feel good.
Okay, so now it’s time to pay it forward my friends; ready, set, go!