When I was asked to write about “Good Works”, this term was unfamiliar to me. In doing a Google search, I discovered this related to “doing something good for others” within the Christian faith.Interestingly, it’s a concept that applies to faiths and cultures all over the world.What motivates us to do something good for others?
I want to share something that happened to me recently that may illustrate a couple reasons that motivate us to do something that benefits others. I was at a Dunkin Donuts and ordered coffee and donuts for a meeting via the drive-thru. When I went to the window to pay, the employee informed me that my order was already paid for. It took me a moment for this to register. He informed me again that the previous customer had paid for my order. A random act of kindness. A “Good Work”. While I don’t know the motives of the person for doing this, the feeling I experienced was indescribable, as it was more than joy. I wanted to pass this on.I felt good.And who doesn’t like to feel that way?This motivated me to do something “good” for someone else. Several times that I have been to that DD, I’ve passed on that random act.
So what are some reasons we do things that may benefit others? It feels good. Sometimes it may temporarily distract us from our own worries and perhaps put things in perspective. It may give us a different vantage point.Some of us may believe that doing “good” for others is karmatic, in the sense that it comes back to us at some place in time. Some of us believe that it’s part of our duty, obligation or purpose. Whatever the reason for doing it, there is one consistent factor to be mindful about and that is, in order for any of what we do on the outside to matter, it must align with what exists on the inside.
Serena Wadhwa, Psy.D., LCPC, CADC, is an assistant professor/program coordinator at Governors State University. She provides individual and group therapy at the Alexian Brothers Outpatient Group Practice. Dr. Wadhwa works in a variety of roles as a consultant, creator, presenter, trainer, lecturer, radio talk show host and author. She is currently on a different path and is working on figuring that out. Yoga, writing, comedy, awakenings and the extraordinary are definite parts of that journey. And ashrams. (Well maybe just a couple more of those.) She has a book entitled “Stress in the Modern World” coming out in late 2015 and an e-book on stress management, prevention, reduction and optimization strategies coming out in May 2015. She can be contacted at email@example.com.