About Me

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Lala land, CA
Hello! I'm Alex, an early 30-something who resides in downtown LA with my husband, pup, and portly cat. I work in TV and Film, oscillating between different departments as I weave a web of a career and try to figure out how to be a better person. As a collector of beautiful things I'd like to take this opportunity to share the little things in life that make me smile...

Monday, May 30, 2011

it's the little things that make me smile: today it's helping when I can

This morning, when I went to the parking complex, one of my neighbors mentioned his battery was dead and was about to call AAA.  This presented me with a great opportunity to help out by offering to jump his car, which he accepted gratefully.  Random acts of kindness not only make me smile but they nourish my soul (little cheezy I know) and help me feel like a productive part of society - not only taking but also giving back.

Which brings up an interesting question - is there any such thing as a truly selfless act?  Honestly I don't think so.  It makes me feel so good to help people, even if it means that I must compromise my own  happiness.  I'll often put my husband's needs ahead of my own out of love but ultimately because it makes me feel good.  It makes me feel good to do something for someone I love.  So in reality it's actually a very selfish act.  When I've posed this question to my husband or friends they often respond that parents, putting the needs of their children first, practice truly selfless acts.  But I don't agree.  Children are an extension of their parents and they are responsible (up to a point) for their childs safety and happieness so naturally one's instinct is to risk their own happiness and sometimes lives for the sake of their child...but I don't think it's selfless at all.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  My hypothesis is that nature ultimately has programed humans to feel good when doing good just as breast feeding releases endorphins for a mother when feeding her child and that this is something that has helped us survive as a species.

What do you think?  Please comment...I'd love to hear what others think about the reality of selfless acts.

Here are some easy random acts to help spread kindness:

Give your leftovers to a homeless person
At a toll booth or coffee bar pay for the person behind you
Hold the door open for someone
Let someone go in line in front of you
Return a shopping cart
Give directions to someone who's lost
Smile and say hello to the people you pass on the sidewalk
Tip generously
Pick up trash
Babysit for free
Compliment someone - if you like their haircut, or shoes or earrings let them know!
Donate money anonymously to someone you know whose in need but would feel embarrassed to accept money from a friend.  My husband and I do this for Valentine's day every year instead of exchanging gifts.  My good friend Cindy just turned me on to this non-profit organization, 'Giving Anonymously', that helps facilitate generosity between people.
Love as many and as much as possible - I don't believe that quantity dilutes quality.


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