Self-Improvement and hedonism

I’m supposed to blog about self-improvement per my friend, nay, my muse, Austin 1’s suggestion.

Self-improvement is what I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life dedicated to.  Well, that and hedonism.

But more on self-improvement…

I have a theory that when you are at your lowest and feeling picked on, beat down, and in the dumps the best thing you can do to improve yourself has nothing to do with yourself.  No losing weight. No hitting the gym.  No taking classes.

YOU NEED TO VOLUNTEER.

Yes, as in do something for others and expect no recognition or anything in return.

I volunteer for a women’s organization, I put on a beer wench costume and pour beer for festivals, I wrap gifts, I pack backpacks, and so much more.

And every time I walked away with more than I had given – satisfaction, happiness, and friendship.

So today, I’m going to share with you my favorite activity for self-improvement…. the “Do 3 Nice Things for Someone Else” activity, and do it all ANONYMOUSLY.

When my son died, I was stricken with grief. I made three anonymous gifts which made me feel immensely better.  They reminded me to look outside myself and see the needs of others, not just my own.  And I felt relieved of my own burden to share the burden of others.

Here’s what I did:

1.  I bought a meal for a senior couple sitting next to me in the diner I was eating at.  I got to enjoy the shock, surprise, and appreciation on their faces when they realized what a stranger had done for them.

2.  I made a donation of dog food and toys to the Humane Society.  This made me feel hugely appreciative of my resources and I adopted a homeless dog from the shelter who filled my life with joy.

3.  I cleaned up trash at a local park and got to enjoy the beautiful views and commune with nature while doing it.  So much fun!

Each time I did something good, with no recognition or reward, I was almost moved to tears.  The appreciation is reward enough, even if the other person doesn’t know who to thank.

I challenge all of you to do 3 nice things for other people (anonymously) and see how you feel.  Possibly you will feel like me: