To be a Social Samaritan means to demonstrate your social conscience and be compelled to help society and social groups. This competency is called “Social Responsibility”. Social Responsibility is that moral compass directing your behavior toward promoting the greater good of others.
A good example of Social Responsibility is to do fund raising projects for charities or to help out at social events as a volunteer. To me, being on the organizing committee of an annual neighborhood get-together is also a sign of Social Responsibility, though on the local level.
Whether for one person or for all of mankind, your contribution matters! Not only for others but also for yourself. If you are one of those who thrive while contributing, your social activity will bring you a deep sense of fulfillment and inner worth. I have had this experience helping out my son with his projects for WWF. Being engaged in social activities allows you to train different skills. For example, being the president of a tennis club will give you a chance to practice your leadership skills. Another advantage is to build relationships with people who are involved in the same social activity. Maybe these relationships will help you in the future.
As with all competencies of Emotional Intelligence, finding the golden mean is the key!
If you are involved in too many social projects, you may be overloaded with too many responsibilities, which can take a toll on the quality of your work or personal well-being. Be mindful that you don’t engage in helping others as an escape from things that need to be fixed in your own life. The “Best Intentions” strategy will help you there:
- Check in with yourself to ensure that you are not avoiding your current emotional state by focusing solely on helping others.
- Ask someone close to you (e.g., family or close friends) to describe what your intentions to help look like from their perspective. Others may be able to see the real motives behind even the best intentions.
- If you are overly involved to the point that your personal well-being is neglected or you are placing unrealistic expectations on your friends, family, or colleagues for their social or corporate involvement, it may be time to reflect on the motives behind your desire to help others.
By avoiding any social work you might miss an opportunity to discover and unleash your potential as well as enrich yourself by contributing to others. Compare your social engagement with the ceremony that goes with giving a present. Do you agree that we experience joy while choosing, wrapping and presenting a gift? Social work is making a gift to more than one person. The strategy of “Taking the Initiative” can help you there:
- Identify two or three charities, nonprofit organizations, or causes to which you feel a connection.
- While brainstorming, record several activities that you can engage in to help at least one of these organizations. Write down what outcomes you expect to see from engaging in each activity. Ensure that these outcomes benefit the organizations or people and aren’t just about making yourself feel good.
- Create a plan and a time frame and if possible, share these details with someone who can hold you accountable to follow through on them.
Be Emotionally Smart by Being a Social Samaritan!