Although you don’t need the holiday season to open your heart and do a good deed for someone, it’s often the time of the year it’s most appreciated. These days with a recovering economy and still so many people out of work, or underemployed, a random act of kindness can go a long way to brighten someone’s day. But what you might not know is that doing a good deed can also bring you a little peace and happiness too. Here are some ways you pay it forward by doing a good deed for someone…
The Good You Do Comes Back To You
Have you ever been in line at the grocery store and found yourself a little short and didn’t have your credit card with you? Remember how embarrassed you were that you had to make everyone behind you stand and wait, not very happily, while the cashier subtracted items off your order? You stood there wishing that you’d magically find some extra money in your pants pocket, or at the bottom of your purse, but it just wasn’t happening. Mortified, you slinked out with some of your groceries vowing to bring a calculator, or your credit card, next time.
But, while events like these are embarrassing, they’re really perfect opportunities for you to learn how to do a good deed when you get the chance. One day you’ll be behind someone in the grocery line, or the gas line, etc with the same problem. But instead of getting mad like the people behind you did, you’ll be more patient. And, if you can, you’ll reach into your purse or pocket and do that person a good deed by helping them out with the few extra dollars they need.
Doing good deeds can be random acts of kindness that you do when the need arises at the moment, like the grocery line, but they can also be planned events. You can do a good deed here and there around what time, resources you have available. For example, here are 5 ways you could build some positive pay back karma:
1. Help an Adult. Ask an elderly neighbor if they need help grocery shopping, or cleaning their kitchen, driving them to a doctor’s appointment, etc. In the winter, you could just shovel their sidewalk, driveway, or rake/blow their leaves, while you’re doing yours. You could even invite them for dinner or bring dinner to them once in a while. If there’s a single parent near you, or a relative even, you could offer to babysit a few hours a week for them. This can be a tremendous help to the parent financially and they also know that their child is in good hands.
2. Charities. Of course, charities always welcome “good deeds” from people in the form of monetary contributions. Give what you can to your favorite charity or offer to help them in some other way. Perhaps volunteer some of your time working in their office, or helping intake, or inventory their donations (clothes, furniture, etc). You may even want to try and collect donatable goods around your neighborhood for them. It saves your neighbors time and the charities appreciate it.
3. Help a Kid. Many young children don’t have grandparents, and some only have 1 parent, or none. You can donate some of your time to grand parenting, or just being a friend/mentor, to a child who could use some direction, kindness, and fun in their life. You can help with their schoolwork, or take them to the zoo, or to a Fun Zone, anywhere or anything you might do with your own grandkids. Contacting Social Service organizations could help you make a Big Brother/Sister, Grandparent type connection with a lonely child.
4. Encourage. Is someone you know feeling down over events in their life? Maybe someone’s fighting an illness? Take time to send a card, or make a phone call, or stop by and visit to offer some words of encouragement to them.
5. Thank a Serviceperson. How many times have you been out at lunch or dinner somewhere and saw a uniformed military service person eating alone? They’d love it if you stopped by their table to thank them for all they’ve done for their country. Maybe even buy them a coffee, dessert, or even their lunch. There are “Adopt a Serviceperson” programs that let you help a serviceperson overseas by sending little things they need there.
“Karma” is a concept of some Eastern Asian religions that says, basically, whatever you do will return to you – good or bad. And that you can counter a lot of the not so great things you’ve done by doing some good deeds. So, practice a few random, or planned, acts of kindness and good deeds here and there. They’ll help make the world a nicer place, help you grow as a person, and add some peace to your life too. And who knows, the next time you run short in the grocery line, or coffee shop, one of the customers behind you could open their wallet, and their heart, and lend you what you need. It doesn’t take much to make someone else’s, or your own, day!
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.
Certified Empowerment Coach