In this day and age, it is so rare to scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram without seeing a post in which someone brags about how good of a person they are.
Of course, this bragging is not blatant: no one wants to say outright "I did a good thing today, please validate it by giving me attention and praise!" No, certainly not. That would break too many social norms for the person who posted it to walk away without any dissonance.
No, the bragging comes in a much more subtle, seemingly benevolent manner. Essentially, people perform good deeds (which is great, don't get me wrong) and proceed to brag excessively about said good deed. They mask this bragging as a "PSA" to try to get other people to do something good, as well. It generally goes a little something like this:
"ATTENTION FACEBOOK FAMILY! Storytime! I was on the way home from my high paying 9-5 today when I saw a homeless person. I gave him $5! I think I really made a difference in his life. Here's a selfie we took *insert selfie*! I feel so great, everyone should do this! I encourage you all to consider making a difference in someone's life the next time you can, it really is the most rewarding thing ever!
Don't scroll past this without typing Amen! Pass it on! Share this post!"
Now I exaggerated a bit, but you get the point. People love exploiting the misfortune of others to make themselves look good, and frankly, it's annoying.
However, I do have some disclaimers to make.
1. I absolutely 100% commend any sort of philanthropic deed, no matter how small. What I DO NOT commend is using these deeds to further one's own self-esteem and public image.
2. I also 100% appreciate spreading positivity and encouraging others to do good. What I DO NOT appreciate is that people need to be praised for every single good deed they do.
3. This article is not meant to trash people who post about their philanthropy. Heck, I've probably done it at one point or another.
My goal here is to shed light on a sad truth that has developed in our society, that being that people think they need an incentive to do good. A selfless act becomes selfish when it benefits the one who performs it more than the recipient.
What I hope you take away from this is that yes, you should encourage those around you to do good, but you don't have to publicize everything you do that is good.
It's better to do good deeds out of the goodness of your heart than for the sake of your likes.