I’m constantly finding myself struggling with trying to find time for acts of of kindness and focusing on my own personal growth and issues.
There was a time I feel like the two weren’t mutually exclusive and in doing one – being mindful of the existence and needs of others- one found themselves in a state of constant growth. Lately it has been a great challenge to balance the two. I constantly find myself between periods of feelings of selfless abandon and selfish introspection. Personal growth has become more academic and prescriptive and less practical and engaging. The world on the other hand, has gotten bigger and our exposure to the number of people we need to spare a thought for has increased tremendously. The strangers with illnesses who’s pictures we are asked to “like” in order to cheer them on or to praise them for their clean bill of health occupy our newsfeed. We are now even asked to prove our faith by sharing a picture of Jesus.
I have made a conscious decision not to like any picture for which I haven’t the time or presence of mind to really spare a thought for. I feel our efforts sometimes really amount to nothing more than a guilt ridding act. We don’t really have the time or compassion to care, but that click and seeing the update in our newsfeed gives us comfort. But even that very decision feels uneasy; am I being overly analytical of what simply is a small act of kindness? Maybe it is better to have a minuscule effort than none at all?
What I do know is that today, I stopped to think about something; how I got this job initially on the basis of someone being on long term sick leave, and how they are still battling their illness. I thought about how many times, I probably moaned about waking up and how on very few occasions I spared much thought to the person who’s health situation afforded me this opportunity. And even as I did, I realised that the thought alone had no compelling effect. I don’t feel any guilt about the initial circumstances of my employment, as one knows life has an awkward sense of humour. But it did lead to me think that sparing a thought isn’t sufficient for my well being. My caring for others has been diminished to mere “spared moments” which at some point were sufficient to mask my guilt but over time has also contributed to my lack of tangible growth. While I may spare kind thoughts and engage in philosophical discussions on the grand issues of poverty, healthcare, I’m lacking on the acting part of it.
Its’s not that we spend a large amount of time on things that have little or no impact on the real life we live. Somehow social media has become the real life and the physical world we inhabit,a mere inconvenience and so we engage in little or no charitable efforts ; after all we liked and shed a few tears on the post of a dog that died saving a child.
Im hoping to do something I can be proud of this 2014.