The trouble with being a saint..

Is that I’m not one. Nor is anyone I know. But that aside…

The trouble with trying to be good is that you risk being elevated to the status of Do Gooder.

————————————————————————————————

At first, when you do Good Deeds, people say things like ‘That’s so nice of you!’ and ‘X is such a GOOD person, I really admire him/her!’.

THEN they start to notice that X, like everyone else on the planet, has faults. DA DA!!!

‘I really admire X…but the other day I noticed him tucking one of the office highlighters into his bag.  Do you think you can really be a Good Person and steal office supplies?’.

or

‘X thinks she’s so GOOD.  She probably thinks she’s better than us.  But I happen to know she once drowned a kitten.  Oh she SAYS it was for its own good but..a bit of a hypocrite, don’t you think?’

It’s no use protesting that you never said you were GOOD, you’re just trying to be a little better.  There isn’t a soapbox for that kind of thing.  Setting yourself up as any kind of aspirant to goodness is an invitation to de-pedestalling, even if you didn’t want to be on a pedestal in the first place.

And after that, comes the dreaded ‘Bloody Do-Gooder!’.

  • Don’t give money to the homeless, you’re only feeding their drug habit – they’ll die sooner because of you.
  • Don’t donate to World Vision, they keep half the money for admin and the other half just encourages third world peasants to rely on handouts.
  • Don’t feed needy dogs until every needy human has a full tummy.
  • Don’t be aware of Kony, it’s racist and more importantly, deeply uncool.

The fact is that there is no cause without an anti-cause, often a very legitimate one.

That said, here are some bloggers who aspire to making the world a better place, and all power to them –  the least you can say of trying to be good is that the results are usually better than if you tried to be bad.

  • Musings and Observations by Vernon Caston.  I’d read this blog just for the title – but he also has a very good post about one Tony Campolo, who throws a party for a weary and disheartened prostitute.
  • Russell Ray Photos, who loves to go camping in people’s blogs but always cleans up his mess before he leaves.
  • 365 Days of Goodness, a blog about Project Goodness. Well come on, it’s GOT to be better than Project Be Horrible to At Least One Person a Day.

And don’t worry, I haven’t reached Do Gooder status yet and nobody’s accused me of anything…but just in case, I’m just sayin…

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27 comments

    • Oh Seb… i’m guessing you ARE a democrat??? I hope? I’d like to say i know evil democrats, but i cannot say that about the Democrat’s political causes. HOWEVER, as individual human beings, i’m sure there are a slew of them who are lifting office supplies and maybe even stamps. Bastards! (the thieves, that is).

      • No, I’m one of the few registered Republicans left in Northern California. Democrats are basically people who think they are entitled to runt he country because only they know nest, only what they believe in is just and the rest of us should sit around, let them look after us and think they are terribly, terribly good for doing so. Basically, every time we elect a Democrat, it takes three terms of a Republican President to clean up the mess they make!

      • You think Seb’s a Democrat? But…Well, maybe. As long as you’re not one of those gun totin bible thumping women hating republicans one hears a lot about, that’s ok. And even if you are..well, that’s interesting I guess. Takes all sorts.

  1. I use the internet to try and do good because I am now far too disabled to ever resume my career as a care assistant – a career that brought me much satisfaction and joy.

    However, I’m not perfect. I make mistakes and have unintentionally hurt peoples’ feelings. I’m only human. People who do good are doing it becauase they want to.

    I hate this pedestal idea as much as you do. I don’t want to be on one – I’m scared of heights! 😀

    PS: I buy coffee for the homeless or give them spare old blankets that I no longer need. That way I know I’ve done something that they may not otherwise be able to afford to do 🙂

    • Well, I think that’s very nice of you, Missus Tribble. I use the internet because I’m lazy but I think your reason’s a much better one – I’m sorry about the disablement, that must be difficult for you, if it’s ok for me to say so.

      • It can be frustrating, especially as I was once so active – but on the other hand I wouldn’t have the friends I do or the hobbies I enjoy if I had a normal life, so I try to keep seeing the positives 🙂

    • Someone I was reading – it may even have been you – said that when you’re disabled, you don’t lose your life, but you do lead a different life. I think it takes quite a lot of grit to see the positives. I had a minor disability when I was a kid, vision related, and that certainly made a big difference to my life, I hated it at the time but appreciate that it made me see things differently now (ha ha). I think no one who is more or less fully able (like me, now) can really comment on what it might be like not to be, except to admire people who make the best of it. Then again, who really is fully able – we all have limitations, just some of us have a lot more of them.

      • Thank you; it probably was me who wrote about having a different life to the one I envisioned – because I do believe that you need to adapt and not let the restrictions on your life consume you.

        I have severe focal onset epilepsy, and regularly suffer seizures. I see no point in getting depressed about it when I can take this experience and use it to educate. So many people are still frightened of epilepsy but many of us are able to see the funny side (like when I fell and broke my toe: I joked about the spectacular bruising).

        Thanks for commenting, and for apparently stopping by my blog and reading. All the best to you x

  2. I am more than happy to accuse you of being a do-gooder.
    So there.
    My favorite do-gooders are those that do it just because that’s who they are, as opposed to those with ulterior motives.

  3. Rose, i’m so tired of being nice, but i am nice. AND, i have recently been ripped from my nice status, and it ALWAYS comes from one person or another. I’m not sure people really like “nice”. Especially if it’s teamed with tender feelings.

    WTF is the answer here?

    This is precisely why i like dogs: Nice is good: LOTS of nice is good. It’s recommended, if not the most NATURAL NICE a person can ever feel and deliver. I’ve been bitten and nipped at by a few dogs, and i still love them to pieces.

    OOPS, i think i upset Mother Nature, it’s pouring outside. Must prepare for work: Late day in! Hoorah!

    I think i may slap a few people around today, then retreat to the bathroom and cry. xoxo

    • Well, yeah. You know, I can’t get enough of nice. I really like nice people, but not people who pretend. But sometimes nice people get tromped on. Luckily I have a small reservoir of bad tucked away for those occasions – I can be quite forthright sometimes, as I bet you can be too. And that’s alright. We are what we are and it isn’t too bad!

  4. I think you’re close to a do-gooder status if not already there. And I mean do-gooder in the best of sense. You get readers to think of things that might make us uncomfortable or make us examine ourselves. And you do it in a humorous fashion. A talent in and of itself. 🙂

    • I do? Thanks, Carrie. The thing is, do gooding is a very boring subject, so I try to make it slightly livelier. But I’m not a do-gooder, I’m a try-a-bit-sometimes when I’m not feeling too lazy, and definitely a sinner. I don’t feel bad about that though, nobody’s perfect as they’re always saying, and it’s ok to be human and lazy. I admire others who have so much energy and do so much in the world – some 18 yr old Australian girl for instance who went and opened an orphanage for street kids in Cambodia, now wouldn’t I be proud to be HER mum (proud as I am of my own two little not-so-good doers).

  5. I’m scared of heights. I get dizzy and I can fall, so you understand, why pedestals are dangerous to people? Sometimes, when they are elevated too high, they cause nose bleeds because the air is thinner up there. Conclusion: Heights or pedestals are not good for your health.

  6. Rose, I think you seriously need to cut the pretence, you may be a bit naughty, a non-conformist, and a bit of a flirt who drive us men to distraction, but underneath you are a marshmallow, and someone who gives generously almost continuously. Yes Rose, a saint you ain’t, but you are someone cares and who tries to do good, at least most of the time. Bravo Rose, do-gooder extraordinaire, CS

    • No really, CS, I know myself very well, and I know that I’m sometimes mean, bitchy (only behind your back though), selfish and a host of other not so wonderful things. But I have had people (the DE for one) say ‘well you think YOU’RE so good, let me tell you something!’ and go on to pull me off a pedestal I never got on in the first place. I’m also conscious that my sisters, in particular the Blessed Liane, do so much more than I do in just ordinary daily life, never mind causes. I look around and I see people who really devote a heap of time and effort to making their world better and probably don’t even THINK nasty things. So I’m conscious of that. But it’s ok to be just ok. It’s not really personal, this post – it’s more about the reactions that ‘do-gooding’ and self improvement can sometimes get from people who take it as a personal challenge or affront.

    • Thanks, but no – I’d say that about you. I’m only middling nice, to be very honest. Really, I mean it. For instance, faced with the choice of buying an expensive face cream or donating that money to famine stricken people somewhere, I buy the face cream (with the thought that I’ve already donated some money this month, so I’m kind of off the hook). There’s this couple in England who give about half their money away and live really simply – I’ll have to find the article about them, they live in Oxford, I think. I just aint THAT good.

  7. I am never good so I haven’t encountered this problem but a very interesting read none the less :D. As you say trying to be good must be better than trying to be bad. And if do-gooder is the worst insult you get all day, it is not so bad.

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