By Georgia Rowe
The Croft Magazine // Writer Georgia Rowe explores the true nature of selflessness. Is it needed? How can we be more kind?
In a recent interview for the upcoming release of Black Panther 2, Martin Freeman reflected on his time working with the late Chadwick Boseman, who tragically died in 2020 after a long, and markedly private battle with cancer. Among other things, Freeman mused how the death of his friend starkly brought to his attention that we may not always be aware of the hardships and battles some endure privately. With an almost epiphanic tone, Freeman expressed how Boseman’s story reaffirmed within him the importance of treating others with an unfailing level of respect and kindness because you never really know what someone might be going through.
Freeman’s personal reflections here speak to the wider importance of selflessness. By nature, we as human beings carry out tremendously complex and full lives. Often so caught up in our own, it is easy for us to forget that there are nearly 8 billion people out there with lives equally as abstract as our own. Along life’s winding path we all face tremendous highs, but also crushing lows at times, and it is during these low periods that acts of selflessness can hold an especially powerful impact on a person.
Colloquially labelled as ‘random acts of kindness’, small efforts like smiling at a stranger; offering to help someone with their shopping bags; or even paying someone a compliment are simple things we can all do that require minimal time and effort but may uplift a stranger’s day when they most need it. I think we can all agree that small feats like this not only embolden your faith in humanity and others but are also great self-esteem boosters.
A viral TikTok trend has recently surfaced showing just how impactful these random selfless acts can be. The worldwide tag ‘notes to strangers’ is flooded with videos showing strangers passing notes to fellow strangers. The notes range in varying uplifting and reassuring quotes - one reads: ‘your life matters, forget anyone that’s made you doubt that’. What is so soul-stirring about this trend, however, is the reactions of those who receive the notes. Some are really emotional, visibly taken aback both by what they’ve read and by the very notion that someone has gone out of their way to try and lift them up.
It is a rather beautiful thought, then, that we all possess the potential to positively impact someone’s day. As the world attempts to navigate its way out of and through an exceptionally fraught few years of COVID-19, political chaos, and environmental worry, whilst we don’t all hold the power to change the lives of the billions, we can all strive to deliver positivity to just one. In doing so, we are actually only making ourselves feel better too. The doubly wonderful thing about selfless acts is they have been proven to induce a
feel-good factor not just in the receiver, but also in those that carry them out. They’re no-brainers, really. So next time you like someone’s jumper or notice their smile - tell them. These words of kindness may go a lot further than you envisioned.
Featured image: © Braxton Apana
What is selfless act you have done today? Let us know!