Doing One Good Deed Each Day

I’ve written many times about the things I do every day:

– Exercise.
– Meditate.
– Write down three things I managed to accomplish, no matter how small.
– Write down three things that made me happy.
– Do one random act of kindness.

The last one is always the hardest. Not because it’s hard to do a kind thing, but it’s VERY hard to find a kind thing that doesn’t have an element of selfishness to it. Having a selfish reason isn’t necessarily evil. When I was training to be a volunteer at the GMHC, (Gay Men’s Health Crisis) and this was in the very early days of the AIDS crisis, they went around the room and had each of us name a selfish reason for being there. Because if we didn’t have one, they warned, we’d burn out quickly.

That said, I feel better doing things that will benefit me the least. Then the other day, someone tweeted this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

I’ve been resisting a natural result of kindness. I still think it’s good to examine your motives, but I’m going to try to feel okay about the fact that every time I do something nice for someone I do something nice for myself.

And yet another picture from the Parks & Recreation Law Swim Award Dinner. That’s Anna Jardine, and Gary Weeks on the far right, the swimmers who swam the most miles in all of New York City. I haven’t been out taking pictures the past few days. In fact, last night I dreamed about walking around the city at a leisurely pace, taking pictures. I guess it’s time.

Park & Recreation Lap Swim Award Dinner

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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