Monday, March 12, 2012

Selflessness? Yeah, selflessness.

Excuse the paraphrase from Guys and Dolls but it couldn't be helped. Today's cards: Five of Pentacles, Four of Cups, King of Cups. These cards speak about helping others, selflessness, and kindness. Most of us, inside our most secret selves operate on a Me First mentality (I might even say all of us but then there are outliers like Jane Goodall, the Dalai Lama, and Mother Theresa or Ghandi). This isn't a bad thing necessarily. Certainly, survival of the fittest has to play a role in how well we do. If we take the time to think about it, most of the things we do are ultimately to help ourselves. We have to work to pay bills (even if the work we do is selfless). We do volunteer work (which helps us feel good about ourselves and is therefore beneficial to our mental and emotional health). In most ways, our kindest actions can be traced back to having seeds in our own self-interest. This reminds me of the Friends episode when Phoebe and Joey had a bet that Phoebe couldn't find a truly selfless good deed, in other words, that anything selfless that she did do could be traced back to having its roots in her selfishness.

I submit to you all that even if whatever selfless deed we do, ultimately has selfish roots, it is still vital to do the deed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with our selfless deed benefitting two (or more). In fact, let's celebrate the idea that everyone benefits when one person is kind or selfless. What a fabulous situation. If I do something kind for someone else, *I* will feel/be better. If that doesn't make my most secret, selfish self want to be more kind, I don't know what will.

I am going to quote the wonderful writers of the show, "Angel." Right after Angel takes a trip to Hell and finds out that it's right there on Earth and that nothing means anything because no matter what he does, he can't ultimately make a difference, he says "If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do... because if there's no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world." It might sound schmaltzy but that doesn't make it any less true.

This also reminds me of that story that went around the internet a few years ago about Jared and how his new friend saved him. I understand it is fiction, but it doesn't matter, the sentiment is extremely important.

Take every opportunity to be kind today. You never know when you might be saving a life.

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