It is rare for individuals to help without seeking any validation for what they have done
It has almost been 3 weeks since the big earthquake and the strong aftershock last Tuesday, we are slowly starting to get back into our usual routines, while there are still plenty of people who are concerned with how they will shelter themselves during the upcoming monsoon season because they have lost their homes. In such tragedies, we have philanthropists and helpful individuals out there, spending hours of their days calling, coordinating and delivering relief aid to those in need, hours out of the capital. Altruism is an admirable quality in humans when we work to help others, it is something people do to benefit others without expecting anything in return.
However, it is rare for individuals or groups to help without seeking any validation for what they have done. There is definitely more of ‘look at how I am helping’ than ‘look at how s/he is helping’. It hard to find those who will help without seeking any credit and that is just how it works. Helping others is a very noble thing, though at times some get so busy promoting themselves that they forget the main purpose of the help. “I just donated Rs 100,000 to a cause” status update or posting pictures of self holding the edge of a sack of rice while giving it away is probably not the most modest way to go. But right now, some help is better than no help.
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I respect individuals who are going out of their way to help the earthquake victims and their families. But it annoys me to see so many of them posting regularly on social media about the help they are providing to the survivors – as if it was a competition. I feel they are more concerned with showing off what they are doing than actually helping others. I hate this cheesy atmosphere. Some say I’m cynical or insensitive, others say I’m in complete denial. But I feel I’m just trying to move ahead. What is wrong with me?
AR: I think I understand what you are saying. It is natural for you to feel frustrated. It is great to see so many individuals and organisations helping. I also believe that when you help, it is not necessary to announce to everyone what you have done because it defeats the purpose of altruism. Nowadays, self-promotion has become a socially acceptable behavior. Social media has given rise to a vain generation who is self-obsessed and need to show others what they have done for validation. Also, there are some international donors who donate to charities and are not present at location, they want to see how their money is being used. That’s the current world for you. Very few people will go out of their way to help others without expecting anything back. That being said in the current situation, victims need help and it is definitely better that people help than not at all, even if they want to be temporary ‘mini-celebrities’. But, there are good people out there who are silently doing more, proving that selfless people still exist.
Anjana is a certified mental health rehabilitation technician and has four years of experience in adult mental health in Maine, USA.
Massive earthquake rattles Nepal
Giving to the living
Picture over people, Anjana Rajbhandary