All About The Altruism

It was just an average Wednesday afternoon at Bosque Brewing Co. when I glanced out the window to see a middle-aged woman dressed in a hospital gown hunched over on the curb.  She looked pale, sick, and lost.  As I closed out my tab with the bartender, I walked outside and calmly asked if everything was alright.  She looked up at me with an expression of numbness and hopelessness as she nodded her head left to right.  As I introduced myself, I asked if there was anything I could possibly do to help.  That’s when I was blessed with a smile. No one had offered her any help during the 3 hours she’d been slumped on a sidewalk.  While she was reluctant to give the details of her hospital visit, she was more than willing to accept a ride to her mother’s house and she used my phone to let a few family members know she was going to get home safe.  We drove fifteen minutes to a gated community. Amongst the small talk she thanked me multiple times for simply checking on her and showing general concern for a complete stranger. At that point we were both smiling, and her farewell was followed by a, “God bless you, we need more people like you in this city.”

While picking up strangers isn’t always the safest form of selfless generosity, the genuine concern for others undoubtedly is.  As we as individuals strive for the betterment of ourselves, we embark on an internal and external journey in pursuit of joy, peace, love, and purpose. Many of us freeze up in this process as the answers to, “where do I start,” or “how do I achieve this now” become less apparent. These aren’t easy concepts to wrap our heads around amongst the stresses and challenges we face everyday. Whether it’s past-due assignments, trouble finding a job, or family struggles, there always seems to be a road block to achieving that peace, joy, and love that is waiting for us right around the corner.  One profound and effective avenue we can look towards is altruism.

Siri will tell you in her monotonous, robotic, yet semi-sweet tone that altruism is, “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” What does this really mean? How does one apply this to his or her daily demanding routine?  Not to sound cliché, but it’s the little things. It’s the local coffee shop conversation with a friend or peer, listening to them vent about their relationship struggles. It’s giving a hug to a complete stranger who seems to be having a bad day (proceed with caution folks).  It’s cooking and cleaning for your family so they come home to what might have been a pigsty.  There is no expectation for return of service. There isn’t a hope or desire for anything in return at all. It’s selfless—unconditional selflessness. That being said, what you do receive is an internal rush of happiness—a breath of fresh air. These little altruistic acts become not habitual, but desirable. They make you feel good! They provide relief to others and produce smiles on faces! What I’m getting at here is that through selfless service to others, we ultimately better ourselves.  Through just a few small acts of kindness we can move forward in our endeavor of self-worth.  There is no better time to start than now. You will be amazed by how altruistic behavior can clear-out some of those mental pot-holes and road blocks, and replace them will freshly paved streets. I encourage you to take these steps as I have, until your steps become leaps.

Colt BalokComment