The Price of Doing Good.

The cost of doing good can be painful.

On December 2nd, we had our monthly Happy Community Coffee Connections (The next one is January 6th). Although I had set a topic for discussion, it soon became apparent that the reason people came was to talk about the price they pay for doing good.

It started when Kathi who shared her story of how her project attracted a ‘bully.” Then Linda shared how her well-meaning intentions and generosity were met by those few people whose job in the world is to be mean spirited. She had left personal gifts at the door of those she felt were themselves in need of kindness. Some people with the heart of Grinch felt it was their duty to challenge Linda about her motives, make false accusations about where the money came from, and boost their own self righteousness at Linda’s expense.

Soon, the others at the Coffee Connections started sharing their own stories of their experience of the price for doing good. You can see their stories here.

The Happy Community Project has had experience enabling Good Samaritans across Canada and around the world.  It seems that when someone is trying to do good, there is often a few others who will take this as an open invitation to be critical, nay saying and opportunistic to push their own selfish agenda and pull someone else down.

For the person who is putting their heart and soul out there, this is a devastating experience. Although these Grinch like people who feel it is their duty to make others feel bad are few in number, their poisonous affect has a long reach into the hearts of those trying to do good.

Not only does the price of doing good often come with individuals paying from their own pocket for doing good, it also comes with the emotional hurt imposed on them by the few.

So how do we as a community compensate those who pay the price for doing good?

There are several ways we can support those who go the extra mile:

We can show our gratitude

We can silence the mean spirited

We can step alongside and help

We can be part of changing our community story

Although good Samaritans are not usually seeking recognition or praise, generously giving thankfulness to them helps soothe the pain of the voices of hurt and helps them know their good deeds made a difference.

When some one speaks up with a bad mouth, don’t give them the space. They are looking for support and validation and you become complicit if you given them a pulpit to speak from.

Doing-good is often a lonely experience and the pain is amplified in aloneness. If you like what the do-gooder is doing, step up along side and lend a hand. Together you can uplift each other with the good feelings that come from helping others.

People tend to behave according to our community story. The only reason the mean-spirited people can speak out is because we have provided a community story that says it’s OK. If there is a different community story, fewer people will allow themselves to be humiliated by this anti social behavior.

We need our good Samaitans. They are fundamental to keeping the human values we value most. As we enter the Holiday Season, perhaps you can reflect on how you can help lower the price the people doing good pay.

How can you:

Reach out with gratitude?

Walk away from those who speak badly?

Step along side a do-gooder and lend your support?

Be part of a different community story?

You can see a short clip of the Coffee Connections video here.

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