Tommy: Nothing makes you feel better than performing random acts of kindness

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
November 14, 2018 - 5:55 am

As we ALL have, I went through a period in my life when just about everything was going the wrong way.  Down, depressed and feeling sorry for myself, I called my best friend Ray, hoping he would commiserate with me. 

To be clear, Ray was a hardboiled, cynical tax attorney.  At least that’s what I thought.  I’ve subsequently found out that he’s one of the most generous people that you can find.  I think he likes to hide that under the gruff exterior.  But back to the story.  Ray answered the phone, and I began whining to him about everything that I was going through.  After I was finished I heard “cynical” Ray sigh.  Then he said, and I remember to this day the clever way he phrased it in baby talk, “does da widdle baby want a bottle? Is his diaper wet and is he getting a nasty rash.” 

Before I could say anything in response, he continued.  But this time it was hard boiled Ray.  “Enough of the poor pitiful me stuff.  You want to feel better?  Go do something for somebody else.  And, even better, don’t let them know you did it.”  I thanked him for the advice and hung up the phone.

I remember everything about that 15-year-old conversation still today BECAUSE IT’S TRUE. Doing something nice for somebody, preferably anonymously, will make you happier than alcohol or any other drug you can ingest.  I imagine it has something to do with endorphins, dopamine or something like that; but I think part of it is you know the feeling isn’t temporary. It’s going to last, and deep inside you know you did the right thing. 

I firmly believe we all know what we shouldn’t and shouldn’t do. Maybe its guidance from God.  Perhaps it’s driven by the way we feel afterward.  Nobody’s ever cheated on a spouse and really felt good after it was over.  Like a drug, it initially made you feel great but that was only temporary and soon the moral hangover begins.  Conversely when you do the right thing by honoring your commitments and helping people when you can the buzz isn’t temporary.  It’s permanent and, done often enough, becomes who you are, not just something you do.

We spent two hours on the air today talking about random acts of kindness.  A lot of the calls were about paying for others meals or helping those down on their luck.  Some of them were pretty simple, like cutting somebody’s grass, picking up trash from their lawn and being tolerant of others’ faults that drive us crazy because none of us are perfect.  A lot of people called and texted in just to say thanks for the positive messages.  At no point did anybody say they asked if the person they helped was a Democrat or Republican.  They just wanted to do something nice.

The best call of the morning was from a lady who lost her husband and then her son within a short period of time. Funeral expenses can mount quickly and Jean didn’t know what she was going to do.  Out of nowhere, a stranger stepped forward to pay for her son’s casket.  I received a text after Jean’s call from a person who identified himself as a fifty year old man who was forced to pull over in his truck because he was crying.

We often don’t realize how often our lives interact with others.  It can be either negative or positive. Here’s a good reason to make it positive: If you’re feeling down or just want to feel good about yourself, try performing a random act of kindness today.  It may be as simple as letting somebody ahead of you in traffic.  Do it.  You’ll be surprised how less stressful and good you feel knowing you helped somebody.  It isn’t a competition because none of us win and get to live forever.  You feel good and somebody gets helped.  Win/win. 

One warning:  you’re going to feel a little guilty because doing something nice for someone else makes YOU feel better than you ever thought you could.  That’s GOOD.  It’s ok. Remember... win/win!

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