John considered himself an all-around good person. He did his chores around the house, had good manners, paid his bills on time, impressed his boss with quality work, managed to tackle a multitude of hobbies that engaged his various talents and skills; in short, he saw himself as a successful, well-balanced individual.
However, there was always something pestering him. He frequently found himself feeling guilty. Guilty for taking time off of work, guilty for enjoying good food and drink, guilty for living a good life. But why? Was his success at work preventing anyone else from doing the same? Was he somehow depriving others of the good life by living it himself? He knew the answer was no, but nevertheless, something kept gnawing at his conscience.
One day, it occurred to him. The guilt he was experiencing was stemming from one thing, one universal characteristic in his life. The majority of his time and energy was spent on himself.
Sure, he occasionally saw the parents and offered to help them with chores around the house or he remembered to offer someone a genuine compliment, but his world was still very self-centered.
He knew that he could start offering up more of his time and money to others. He suspected he would discover a sense of relief once he began thinking of others on a more regular basis.
He admitted to himself it was too much to just jump into a long-term commitment at a charitable organization, or start donating large sums of money to the hospital; that was too much too soon. So he started small. Very small.
Once a month, he vowed to donate $25 to a charity and then see where to go from there.
After two months, he found this new initiative of his manageable and rewarding, so he quickly stepped up his game.
Being an introvert, it was difficult for John to strike up conversations, meeting strangers and interacting with them for extended periods of time. So he figured an anonymous approach was his best bet for now. Today, he visits the hospital once a month to drop off balloons and a card filled with his love (and some cash) to whomever needed it most. He knew his anonymous gesture would surely make someone’s day. John would write down some encouraging words for the patient and sign it, “Sincerely, Your Fellow Man”.
John experienced an immediate and overwhelming sense of goodness and purpose. He had found something worth dedicating his life to: thinking of others.
Yes, he could still enjoy the good life, playing golf once a week, going on vacation, and eating out with friends, but he could finally begin directly helping others do the same.
Life is good.