Posts Tagged ‘random acts of kindness’
So, here we are, my very first blog! If you’re as excited about this as I am, and I’d imagine you are, then you may feel the need to let out a little whoop of joy. Go ahead, but I’ll restrain myself to a smug smile and a little pat on the back, I don’t want to peak too early.
Which reminds me of an interesting article I read the other day. (I say interesting, I mean not dull enough to make me poke my own ears out. I don’t read with my ears; the pain would just distract me from reading momentarily.) Anyway, it was about the fact that smiling makes you happy, which is probably the most groundbreaking bit of news I’ve heard since it was revealed that bears do, in fact, shit in the woods, rather than in public lavotories. (If you think you’ve seen a bear in a public toilet, it may have got lost on its way to its favourite dumping spot in the woods, or it may just have been an exceptionally hairy man. You can always inquire verbally, but if it’s a bear it may not answer.)
What’s slightly more interesting however, is the fact that, apparently, random acts of kindness make us unhappy.
Here’s the article for you to have a gander at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/aug/12/uk-happiness-study
Now, my theory on this is that decent people like to help people, but we also like to receive some sort of gratitude in return, if not a small financial reward or some kind of shiny medal. And, when we don’t, it makes us sad and bitter and generally less happy than we would have been had we just not bloody bothered.
The other day, for example, I asked a blind lady if she needed a hand crossing the road. Was this because I wanted to ensure she was okay or was it because I wanted to feel smug and self-satisfied at my total selflessness? Probably a bit of both. Either way, she didn’t need help as she was waiting for a taxi. I could have offered to help her into the taxi, but that would have been overkill, not to mention fairly patronising, And besides, I had to get to Wilkos to buy some plastic cups and she didn’t look like she was going to give me either a financial award or anything shiny. She didn’t even give me eye contact. I didn’t feel less happy than I had been before though, I was too focused on the cups.
The point is, as Phoebe discovered in Friends, there is rarely such a thing as a selfless act of kindness; there is nearly always an ulterior motive. Which is why small acts of kindness can make us feel unhappy if they’re not met with at least some degree of gratitude, preferably eternal.
My advice would be to go to Wilkos and buy some plastic cups to get over it. At less than 50p for ten (and we’re talking the big ones here, not your common and garden plastic cups) you can’t go wrong, and any unhappiness you do feel will soon be overshadowed by rage as the checkout women completely ignore you and talk to one another.
That’s all for now folks, but tune in again soon for more inappropriate jokes, blowing of my own trumpet and general ranting. I will be blogging regularly as a myriad of small things annoy me, and I like to spread that annoyance far and wide.
Oh and do feel free to comment.