Is being good a bad thing in today's world? #WYHO #1000speak

by - December 19, 2015


  • A young boy goes to feed a stray pup & gets bitten by the pup's overprotective mother.
  • A young doctor works fervently to save a patient rushed in to the casualty, performing chest compressions & mouth-to-mouth respiration. The patient is revived. His reports come back as Hepatitis B positive... as do the distraught young doctor's a few weeks later.
  • A young woman joins a crowd to hold a late night candlelight vigil for an injustice in her city. She is molested by unknown members, faceless in a large crowd.
  • An old man gives some change to a homeless man begging on the street. Staring at his purse, the homeless man nods to his accomplices. A dark alley away, the old man gets waylaid and robbed.


I wish these were rare instances but we all know they occur around us. People try to do a good deed and end up becoming victims instead. And that suffering extends far beyond the loss of money or a few bruises - it shatters their belief in humanity. In wanting to do a compassionate act. As they bear these scars, they will invariably hear the lament of those who care for them asking them 'what was the need to do it in the first place? You could have walked away and nobody would have been any the wiser."

And those words will sink in.
The next time you reach forward to give change to a man on the street, you will hesitate.
The next time you see a child smiling and walking towards a pup bouncing along the streets, your body will tense.

So what do we do? Do we stop caring for those we could help because there is a very distinct possibility in today's world that we could end up being victims of an assault or crime?
Is being good a bad thing in today's world?

My two cents:
I need to believe in rainbows and unicorns.
I need to believe that a good deed will 'pay itself forward' into random good deeds for others. And I need to believe that my small acts make a difference. Maybe not to the entire world but at least to one person's world.
I need to believe that compassion will win in the end.
Yes, I have been the 'victim of being compassionate' and the scars remain long after the incident but truth be told, I would rather be stupid & trust once more in love and humanity than turn cynical and bitter forever.

 A part of us invariably turns bitter but the battle is to not allow it to consume us.
Because I cannot see a world that is spiteful and lacking in compassion surviving in the long term.
I need to trust in people as individuals & not look at them as a collective or hate them all because of their race, religion or worse, simply because one random person hurt me in the past.
I cannot stop caring and helping you just because someone who shares some similar genetic traits with you used me - I can't be that spiteful to you. I may hesitate but I will not turn away.


Do care but also be aware. Do not hesitate to be kind but do not ignore the possibility of how it could backfire.

Pay the man on the street but walk by no dark alleys.
Join the candle light vigil but surround yourself with those you trust and have your back.
Save a patient's life but do not rush in without appropriate gloves and masks upon your own being.

What about you?

  1. What advice would you give your loved ones in this regard and considering today's world where 'no good deed goes unpunished' is a very real thing?
  2. More importantly (putting yourself in the shoes of the do-gooder) if you were a victim of such an incident, would you be willing to do it again?

Author's note:

Everyday Gyaan

Linking to Everyday Gyaan's #WYHO prompt
(Share your depth) as well as 
#MondayMusings (Healing follows Honesty)






Click here to go to the main site
To quote Yvonne"1000 Voices Speak For Compassion is a blogging initiative started in response to violence and alienation in our world. "
This month, #1000Speak focuses on COMPASSION. A thousand bloggers across the planet write in on a topic that most of us have dealt with in the hope of inspiring you to have faith in the good that exists all around you.  

You can also find #1000Speak on Facebook,Twitter, the blog or just by typing down the hashtag #1000Speak on social media.

I had written for #1000Speak earlier this year on:
1. Compassion 
4. Acceptance
5. Love
6. Compassion once more
7. Listening

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30 comments

  1. I agree with you here... its so hard to be nice and kind in today's world.
    A kind word and you are told to be trying too hard. if you are nice - people look at you with cynicism.
    I need to believe in rainbows and unicorns too and I do. I still believe that a kind word or deed will take you a long way.

    But, I am careful. I carry a dollar and some change with me in my pocket in case someone asks me so that I don't remove my purse in front of strangers. Even for my train ticket - I keep change in a pocket.

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    1. Pixie, it really is a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of scenario sometimes. Even doing the right thing can get you into trouble today... but yes, I still feel we can't allow it to make us give up

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  2. The post was so simple and easy. To understand to empathise with... in a weak mind perhaps this post would evoke negativity, a lesson to learn from. For more evolved ones this post will speak only of hope, of faith and belief..

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    1. I certainly hope that it instills some positive faith.. too many naysayers around my timeline in recent days.

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  3. Great message, Roshan. It made me think of the scorpion and the frog story. It goes something like this: One day, a scorpion stood on the side of a stream and asked a frog to carry it to the other side. 'How do I know you won't sting me?' the frog asked. 'Because if I sting you, I'll drown,' the scorpion said. The frog thought about it and realized that the scorpion was right. So he put the scorpion on his back and started ferrying him. But midway across the stream, the scorpion plunged its stinger into the frog's back. As they both began to drown, the frog gasped,'Why?' The scorpion replied, 'Because it is my nature.'
    But I remember reading an add-on to it, where the frog was saved and offered a ride to another scorpion. When asked why he risked again, he said 'Because it's my nature to help'!

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    1. @Corinne and @Roshan very positive post. Nothing to add gave me some positive feelers.

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    2. Corinne, I have indeed read the scorpion and the frog story but never this addendum and I actually happy to read this final chapter to the story. A message can be what we want it to be and I am glad that someone chose to find the good even in this one.

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  4. Simple but so much wisdom! Yes it does hurt when the good that we do backfires. But it is always better to be a good person rather than a heartless one.

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    1. A lot of people bat for the "look out for yourself" concept in real life. I get that but I also don't think we can choose to willfully ignore those we can help.

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  5. I know it is hard to do good sometimes. We are scared that we will be victimized too. I am like you though, we have to try. If we all tried and in turn thanked those who have helped us and not harmed them, then this world would be a better place. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Touchwood Mary. I hope there are more people who share that belief...

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  6. Lovely post, doc! I do believe that compassion will pay its way forward. Yes there are instances where you are left feeling hurt and people do comment as to what was the need to do all that, what did you gain...but you can't live in this world without hope, without believing in the good in people.
    As you have rightly pointed out in the examples, one should be careful... But never loose hope in humanity despite the ill we see around.

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    1. Aditi, I have faced the "what was the need to do it" comment so many times in my life that it isn't funny anymore, after a while. I feel that i should be more bitter by now but I find myself going back to the old ways when the time comes again... maybe it is right that I don't learn my lesson but I'd like to think it is also about refusing to give up on people.

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  7. Doing good is always a feel good factor.. But sometimes it turns things upside down.. Once in my city, 2 of the chain snatchers on their bike were about to target a woman, when a middle aged man who was observing things from his shop there, jumped in between to protect those ladies, and he was shot dead there by those chain snatchers..!! It really really pricked my heart..
    All he was doing was a good deed, but ended up being the victim of the same..

    Such instances make people question themselves, should they or should they not involve themselves in these matters?

    Yes, being cautious about the situation is one solution where one can take care of things and help the one they were willing to..

    Thanks for sharing Roshan..

    It was a lovely read..

    Cheers

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    1. The example you cited becomes a clear case of one where you hear people respond with "what was the need for..." and it's sad. It is actually sad because they have a point seeing the tragic ending but still, I don't want to think that we will lose touch with helping people out of pure fear.

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  8. Spiteful people will never change. We shouldn't lose faith in humanity though at times, it can push us to be ruthless. Once during break phase, I told a friend that I will change and be like a stone but it never happens. We cannot kill the goodness in us.

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    1. I guess I have passed through some form of that.. I too imagined I had turned into a heart of stone but when the time comes, I find myself once more returning back to the old ways, albeit a little more cautiously this time.

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  9. I have to believe there is goodness in the world. I see so much pain and suffering through work that it makes me cynical. Yet, there are moments. Moments of goodness. Like the time I saw a woman sitting with a homeless woman at Central station and having a chat. Or the busker and a member of the public singing together. Or the people who help out the talented artist who has no work. I have to believe in the good of humanity. And that what goes around will come around.

    I agree that bad things will happen, but hopefully, that won't deter the goodness. I remember watching Pay it Forward and wondering back then what the point of being good and kind was if in the end, you were going to pay for it. But I've come to terms. As you said, you may need to take precautions but hopefully, it doesn't stop people from helping.

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    1. Pay it Forward was a tough movie to watch because of the ending (I hate such kind of endings) but I need to believe in the system... that when we do something good, we will not be targeted for it. Or that it is better not to do anything for others because it ends up hurting you in the end...
      Yes, need to be cautious...

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  10. Hi Dr,
    Just what I needed to read. I will continue to be compassionate and do those little good deeds because that's who I am and it's my way of giving back when I have so many blessings around me. Many have told me why do you care, you will only get hurt. But, I continue to have faith in good and be me. As I know the only thing I can control in this world is me. Cheers. Good night

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    1. Reena, as you can see in the comments above and below - there is a certain fear nowadays. People want to do good but the thought has also started to creep in to be cautious because somethings it comes back to haunt you. In an ideal world, we should never have had to worry about this... sigh. If only it were an ideal world.
      Have a great Christmas week :)

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  11. Hi Dr,
    Just what I needed to read. I will continue to be compassionate and do those little good deeds because that's who I am and it's my way of giving back when I have so many blessings around me. Many have told me why do you care, you will only get hurt. But, I continue to have faith in good and be me. As I know the only thing I can control in this world is me. Cheers. Good night

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  12. Once bitten twice shy, very difficult to shake that off! The injustice of it all is so painful and also so real. But like Corinne's addendum of the frog and scorpion story suggests, one will revert to one' s true compassionate calling, irrespective of past encounters. Also agree Doc that one should try and do good but also be aware of what he is getting into, and try to safeguard himself.

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    1. Kala Ravi, I think your comment really applies to me... even the bit related to the addendum on the frog anecdote. I need to be more cautious and safeguard myself when I jump into acts, I still feel.

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  13. Thank you so much for this thought provoking post. I would like to think that I'd keep going back for more regardless, although taking precautions but truth is that I've withdrawn somewhat lately. While being sensitive enables me to empathise with others, I get rather battered by a lack of empathy around me and I guess it's only natural to focus our efforts where you are understood and appreciated and to avoid places where you get battered and bruised.
    I also think it's important to do some kind of risk assessment before leaping in. You just don't go near blood, for example, without gloves on. That reminds me I probably should put some gloves in our car and a first aid kit. We don't even have a bandaid in there to save ourselves at the moment.
    Wishing you a Merry and blessed Christmas xx Rowena

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    1. That's a valid point. I have turned away from those I felt took me for granted or deliberately belittled my efforts... I guess I do look for atleast the acknowledgement of the effort made.
      And yes, I would definitely agree that you need to have an emergency first aid kid and a flash light too, for emergencies.

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  14. No good deed...I see what you are saying in this post. The good can and does come, followed by some bad, but I fight against the negativity too. I doubt people's sincerity often, but kindness is all around. Sometimes it is hidden. Just means we need to look even harder.

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    1. I know what you mean Kerry. It becomes harder once we have been betrayed but yes, that just needs we need to be more vigilant... not that we give up entirely on doing good.

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  15. I advise my loved ones to be wise, careful, and cautious but to be giving, considerate, and kind. I tell them to give without expectation, or anticipation of a return. I do strongly believe in karma. If we are somehow "punished" for doing good then there is a lesson in that. Lessons are sometimes very difficult but there is always a light that shines through.

    I have been victim for being a do-gooder. Like yourself. I refuse to allow bad things to cause me to become a cynical person. Having grown up around cynical people my entire life, I know for sure I never want to become one. There is more negativity and harm spread through cynicism of my own loved ones, family ... than any harm a stranger could cause me. The effects of the cynical person on those who have open hearts is a wound that is slow to heal.

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    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Joely. I think you summed it up best when you said "I never want to become one". That is pretty much what I felt too... I don't say I am entirely successful at it but I know I keep striving not to ever let it overwhelm me.
      Hope you had a Merry Christmas and wishing you a Great 2016!

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Let me know what you think.