With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the Supreme Court Justice who stood for justice and equality for all people, we reflect back on one of her quotes that aligns with out values here at TLC-VR:
“If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is- living not for oneself, but for one’s community.”
RBG and Ego
Ginsberg’s viewpoint coincides with one of our topics at TLC-VR based on the book Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. Holiday characterizes ego as “an unhealthy belief in our own importance.” He views it as the enemy that keeps you out of touch with reality, creates unrealistic expectations and entitlement, and makes you dependent on external validation (e.g., praise and admiration, expensive lifestyle, social media likes and follows).
Holiday discusses ego and how it relates to success in the workplace, but two of his ideas are most relevant to our discussion here: 1) stop making it all about you, and 2) figure out your purpose. When you pay attention to other people’s needs, desires, and goals, you are setting aside your ego and focusing on others. In the process of doing this, you are developing a sense of purpose and service within yourself. When you spend less time thinking about yourself, you can accomplish more for others.
Why Doing Good is Good
Not only is doing good for your community good for others, but it is also good for your health and wellbeing. Research suggests that performing acts of kindness can increase longevity, reduce stress and depression, increase happiness, reduce chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and give us a sense of purpose and satisfaction. The research is clear: thinking about others and bettering the lives of other people benefits you in return!
Ways to Help Others and Your Community
If you’re looking for ways to help improve your community here are some ideas:
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food bank– or look up organizations near you that are looking for volunteers
- Donate money to an organization that is meaningful to you
- Donate blood
- Offer your skills and knowledge as a mentor to those who are struggling
- Collect money from friends/family/neighbors to buy gift cards to the grocery store and gas station and give them to struggling families
- Donate old towels and blankets to an animal shelter (they need dog and cat food too!)
- Buy coats, socks, and warm clothing for those in need (or donate gently used clothing)
If you’re looking to do an act of kindness:
- Send a gratitude letter to a loved one
- Call a friend who you haven’t checked in with in a while
- See if a neighbor needs help shopping (especially during Covid-19)
- Pay it backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line
- Give compliments to others
- Leave water and snacks for the mailman, garbage men, gardeners, etc.
- Donate flowers (or give them away after an event (e.g., wedding)) to a nursing home or hospital
- Learn the names of the people you see everyday (e.g., security guards, individuals working at the front desk) and greet them by name when you see them
Have more acts of kindness or things you do for your community? Let us know!