When I heard the term, I didn’t know what it was, but someone talked about the symptoms of Altruism. I was concerned. Symptoms? Is that a good thing?
Then I found out that altruism is a personal quality that we should all strive for in our daily lives.
Here’s one the definitions from Merriam Webster: “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.”
When you’re altruistic, you have a personal moral obligation to perform tasks and activities that provide help and support to others. Being altruistic means you take personal responsibility to do something of value for another human being.
You go out of your way to consider the benefits you can create for others but don’t expect people to do the same for you. When you’re altruistic, people likely see you as friendly, open, concerned, caring, humble, and supportive. You have a true passion to facilitate the well-being of other people without any expectations.
Are you altruistic? Consider these clues:
- You think of others first. In any situation, you consider the other person. It comes naturally to you. It’s not that you think others are more important than you—it’s just that you strive to be a servant.
- You consider the impact of your behavior on others. For example, you’d like to buy an SUV because you get so frustrated about not being able to see where you’re going when you’re following an SUV. You realize, at first, that if you also had one, you could likely have a better view of what’s going on up the road ahead of you.
However, you also think, “Yeah, but then if I get an SUV, I will be responsible for putting one more vehicle on the road that other drivers can’t see around. No, I’m not going to get an SUV.” An altruistic person truly considers the effects of their behaviors on those around them.
- You get positive feelings after doing something for another person. When you’re altruistic, you actually like to do things for other people. Helping others brings personal rewards that those around you might not understand or aspire to do themselves.
- It’s no bother to go out of your way to help other people. During times when many find a situation to be a source of frustration, you step forward and do what’s necessary to provide assistance to others. An altruistic person doesn’t consider it a big deal to pitch in. It’s just what they naturally do.
- To a certain extent, you believe in the concept of karma. Although you might not accept Eastern philosophy in its entirety, you do think that “what goes around comes around.” In other words, you believe that if you do something positive for someone, down the road good things will come to you, but that is not the reason you do them.
- You apply the Golden Rule when dealing with others. You “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” A personal goal is to bring good cheer to the people you’re around and applying the Golden Rule is an effective way to do it. You want people to be treated right, just as you would want to be treated right.
- You step forward to join your favorite cause. You’re an activist of sorts. Whenever something is really important to you, you’re not afraid to join a local or national group that works to combat the difficulty or establish a better way of life for people as a whole. Your focus is to contribute and maybe even motivate others to do the same. You don’t do it to bring attention to yourself, but to bring attention to the cause.
- You display a quiet self-confidence. Because you’re so clear on what your personal morals and standards for behavior are, you live your life on purpose, with purpose. You believe what you believe very strongly. You experience strength in your convictions.
Being altruistic is a wonderful personal value to possess. If the statements above describe you, then you might have altruism! That IS a good thing.
On the other hand, maybe you’d like to become more altruistic. If so, it’s a worthy endeavor. Focus on putting others first, and developing the above personal qualities. The more altruistic people we have in the world, the better lives we’ll all live, and the better the world will be for everyone in it.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.