Rachel Lanz worked as a social media specialist for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland. She has a B.S. from Benedictine College in Journalism and Mass Communications and enjoys writing about youth-related topics. She is from Denver, Colorado and currently teaches English at a K-12 Catholic school in Rome.
“The person in front of me just bought my coffee in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru this morning. Goodness still exists in the world!”
“Of course, it does,” was my first reaction after hearing this story. Hours later, and I couldn’t stop thinking that people believe that goodness has disappeared.
I know it’s difficult to see goodness amongst us when mass shootings, sexual harassment allegations and political perjury keep rising in the news. It seems that the only news broadcast is bad news.
Next, our minds follow suite into thinking about negatives in our personal lives, and there you have it. We start viewing life as if we were living in a negative and dramatic news channel, and any sight of “goodness” is like finding gold sifting through rocks.
The words, “Goodness still exists in the world,” unconsciously brings the beauty of integrity down to a negative level, as if it was completely lost. The definition states that it is ‘a quality of being good; a belief in the basic goodness of mankind.’
So, is goodness lost in mankind all together? As we approach the Christmas season, let’s find what goodness means again and how we can uphold it in our lives.
Goodness is honesty
When was the last time you were completely honest? I’m talking about the honesty that has no guilt in hiding anything about who you are, right here, right now.
These days, we have been accustomed to covering up our true feelings. I can admit that thoughts like ‘I haven’t posted on Instagram in a while; let me try to find a recent picture to reassure everyone that my life isn’t boring,’ has crossed my mind.
Or the classic, ‘hey, how are you’ and a scripted response is spit out to show that nothing could possibly go wrong in my life.
But is that reality? Roadblocks are unavoidable in life and it is okay to be honest about that because they help us grow. I have learned that when I become honest with myself and with others, then I can’t blame anything or anyone, and I am able to trust the consequences that unfold in my life.
An essay written in 2012 by the Hoover Institution’s Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society said, “the problem now is that we seem to be reaching a dysfunctional tipping point in which an essential commitment to truthfulness no longer seems to be assumed in our society.”
If honesty is becoming an optional characteristical trait, then is it true that goodness is being lost in humanity?
I don’t believe it. We may not see it appear in the news, politics, our workplace or even amongst our friends and family, but we can start honesty with our own lives.
Goodness is gratitude
Every year, Forbes puts out a list of America’s Top Givers, where they donated and how much. But it doesn’t stop with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. There are many nonprofits working to stop hunger, discover medical solutions, maintain emergency relief, protect the environment, continue education, build leaders and many more.
Gratitude is like an entrepreneurial mindset. It starts when we go above what we initially feel, see and know. It is having hope in something greater than our limitations. When I begin to see the gratitude in my life, I have enough energy to not only accomplish my goals, but to give a little extra.
If it has been difficult to see the gratitude in your life recently, start small. Use your daily commute to meditate and focus your thoughts, follow and share philanthropists on Instagram and Twitter, make more than one Thanksgiving party a year, leave the toxic relationships and take action to regulate the amount of negativity you absorb.
When we slow down, turn off the autopilot and affix life on the positives, we are able to see gratitude around us. We then can have hope that goodness will never fail in society because goodness always has a source and no end.
Goodness is charity
We all know the phrase ‘when life gives you lemons…’ Well, you can finish that one. But when the only thing you can taste is the bitterness of the lemons, then our focus of the life has become narrow because we start to believe that goodness is a luxury rather than a necessity.
Luxuries come and go; therefore, goodness can’t just be a treat in life but a daily task. How often on our “new year, new me” list do we add daily tasks of giving?
Goodness exists in the world through our actions. It is the extra things we do outside of ourselves that makes each day different from the one before. Let’s think of going out of our way not as a chore, but as dropping goodness in the ocean of humanity.
Stay the extra 30 minutes at work to help a co-worker. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Cook a homemade meal for your family. Volunteer yourself once a month. Pack an extra snack for the homeless man on the corner. And buy the person behind you at Dunkin’ Donuts a coffee, just because.
If we take part in goodness as a whole, then it is impossible to think that goodness is disintegrating.