Well, I helped out at the mall today in a very small way. It wasn't a big deal and I was thanked and wished Merry Christmas. So everythings's fine, right? Well, it turns out that I am not someone who gets a sense of satisfaction and happiness for this kind of thing. It really did nothing for me. Sadly, if I got more praise, recognition and a small reward, I might feel more satisfied. I don't know why but that's the way I am.
I like helping. I guess I find joy in it and maybe that should be enough. I am an approval-seeking person though and, well, I seek a lot of approval.
These days I am (usually) nice to people out in public. I used to be a lot crankier. This year, I've gotten through post office, Starbucks and drug store line-ups without causing any ruckuses. And a ruckus-free Christmas is good. I hold doors and am generally quite considerate of other people. This approach seems to be working well for everybody including me. No one needs more hostility.
Still, when I go out of my way to help, and I did today, there's a part of me that really wants some acclaim. Maybe it builds up after all the niceness I've already shown (and, admittedly, the anger I've sometimes suppressed). Maybe I just want to be recognized, singled out, seen. Maybe we all want some attention now and then and when we don't get it, we are again reminded of how very small we are in the world. I don't know. Maybe I'm just an egocentric narcissist who wants everything to be about me. That one kind of stings.
Anyways, there's no parade given for small acts of kindness but they're still worth it. This one was appreciated and maybe it will be replayed by the people involved. And the world will be a little nicer because of it. Even without a parade.