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April 17 • When Doing Good Sucks

Day 648


This was a weird day with a disappointing conclusion. A few weeks ago, I started doing some volunteering work for a local nonprofit organization. It was an intentional effort to try to engage in an activity for someone else so that I would have less focus on myself. There was even a Twelfth Step element, so I also embraced the twelfth tradition of SAA by completing the project with as few people as possible knowing that I was involved. Today was the day that my work was put into play, and the benefits would be realized for the nonprofit and the people it served. Unfortunately, I had to release control of how my work was implemented to other people and, frankly, they didn't do it right. They didn't follow the simple instructions and certainly did not take advantage of the new benefits and features I brought to the effort out of the goodness of my heart. They didn't seem even to make an effort or care that the work had been done. I was ticked-off. I was angry, but I let it out as self-righteous disappointment because the people to be served were missing out. How hard was it to follow the process as I had laid it out? The program has taught me that when I'm feeling something like that, whether righteously or directly out of my defects, it's worth stepping back and trying to figure out why I'm feeling that way. So I did. I was not pleased. The conclusion I had to face was that I was disappointed that I didn't get to hear 'nice job' from the few people that knew I was involved, or even a comment from a client about how much better the new process was. Part of what I said I was doing for charity was really just for me. We all choose to do things for others because it makes us feel good, so that's not the part I'm facing. The work I did was good. The benefit of it had (and still has) a lot of potential for good, but I was not satisfied with that. I wanted the credit as well as seeing the value put in place. And because I didn't get those things, I felt useless, as if I'd wasted my time. I did the work well, and that should be enough. What others do with it, especially related to my ego, is nothing but a trap for me. I need to work on my release.


–JR


 

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