“You’re only helping yourself.”
Everyone’s heard it, or even said it, a few times in their lifetime.
The idea that the altruist is not really an altruist at all, but a self serving gratification seeker, is nothing new.. but I fail to see the negative aspect of such a thing. Sure from a moral point of view, it might not be as admirable as truly sacrificing yourself without any reward at all, but the end result is the same.
I would even go so far as to say the byproduct; people getting helped, is much more important than the main goal which may or may not be gratification.
Let me be clear, I am not accusing anyone who is putting their life on the line helping others of being self-serving. Quite the opposite. But I do think that the increased feeling of self-worth, and the positive empathy you feel when helping others could perhaps unconsciously be part of the why for some, if not many of the people who lay down their lives to better the world. Even if that were true, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I mean, the world could use a documented self serving reason for helping others.. what better way to inspire selfish people to truly help out?
And I’m not talking about the occasional donation to alleviate guilt here. I’m talking getting down in the trenches, and doing some hands-on helping.
Helping/Giving Feels Good
It’s time that we admit it. In fact,I don’t think anyone would deny it. Well maybe sociopaths, but in general helping someone out feels good. Even strangers. Even people you don’t like, because you feel like such a big person for not letting your bias stop you from helping.
“You’re Only Helping Others To Make Yourself Feel Better!”
Let’s say that it’s true. That it is impossible to do something selfless.
So what!? How does that translate into an excuse to NOT help someone. Do you somehow prove your character by denying yourself the ability to feel better, while also helping others at the same time?
I don’t get it. It’s the weirdest excuse ever.
If anyone says this to me when I’m doing MTMAD, I will laugh and say: “Yeah, it feels great. You should do it too!” I can’t think of a more positive thing.. such a win-win situation.
Think of a hug. It doesn’t matter who “gives” the hug, in the end both parties have more or less the same positive experience. And sure some people don’t much like hugs, I used to be one of them, and some people don’t like getting help. Then there are countless gray areas where it’s hard to know what’s what. But as a general rule of thumb, it’s more than okay to help people.. even if you’re worried you only do it to make yourself feel better.
Help Me Help You
As part of Month To Make A Difference, I have decided to offer help to anyone who asks for it throughout November. If you want to know about learning Japanese or language language in general, or you need help getting some tiny momentum going for your blog, you need help losing weight or you just want someone to give you honest critiques or someone to bounce ideas off of, contact me.
If you believe I’m only doing this to feel better, then you can help me, by allowing me to help you! Then afterwards we can discuss whether or not my motivation matters…
This is a picture from Arashiyama “monkey hill” in Kyoto, where I lived for over a year as an exchange student. (To clarify I lived in Kyoto, not in the monkey park.) I took it when I was showing my family around, acting as a full fledged tour guide. The monkeys in the picture are not wild. They get fed by the people who run the tourist business there, I have a video of the meal time. It was quite interesting. They played some music and all of a sudden tons of monkeys started gathering around. Hmm.