Stop Searching for Goodness and Express It Instead

express your goodnessI hate to admit it, but I spend a lot of time looking at animal videos and clips of people doing good things on Facebook and Youtube. (Just writing that makes me want to go search out a few…) I particularly like the ones of rescued animals and people expressing their goodness.

Can you relate?

Sometimes I watch these feel-good videos when I am inclined toward procrastination. Other times, I watch them when I feel depressed, sad, or lonely. I’ll go online and scroll until I find one to watch. And then I’ll scroll until I see another. Or I’ll let Youtube suggest a few. (The panda bears…oh!)

Why do I do that? Why do you do that? What is it about these videos of loving and funny pets, rescued animals, and people doing good deeds that are so compelling—and, might I say, addictive—that makes so many of us want to watch them?

Here’s my theory.

Looking for Good

I think we are searching for the good in the world. We seek relief from the many things around us that look and feel bad by watching videos of rescues and adoptions and heroic acts.

On the news, all we hear about is wildfires, floods, hurricanes, school shootings, bombings, and murders. We want to see something good. We want to experience the innocence and love in animals and the virtue and kindness in people.

When we see it, we feel better. We have hope and maybe a moment or two of joy.

I know those videos give me faith in humanity, and they often put a smile on my face. (Sometimes I even laugh out loud.)

Find the Goodness in Yourself

It’s all well and good to look outside yourself for goodness. However, I’d like to encourage you to find the goodness in yourself and express it in the world.

Stop looking at other people doing good. Instead, do good.

Sometimes I don’t notice opportunities to express my goodness. It’s easy to look around with blinders on and say, “Everybody seems to be okay.” But I have friends, for instance, who lost their homes wildfires in the last few years. If I reached out and said, “If you need somewhere to stay, come to live with me until you get this figured out,” that’s me expressing goodness. Or, I can contribute gift cards to organizations that hand them out to those displaced by the fires.

When I see a dog running along the side of the road and stop my car, get out, catch the dog, look at his collar for a phone number, and call the owner, that’s expressing my goodness. When the owner comes and gets the dog, I know by looking at them that they feel that expression.

Express Your Goodness

You can express your goodness in so many ways. For instance, you can donate to charities that help people affected by natural disasters. You can contribute money to the Red Cross or ASPCA, or you can take food to the local homeless shelter or dog food or beds to your local animal shelter. Additionally, you can foster dogs, take in rescue animals, or bring coats to the homeless on the street. Show up to serve dinner at a shelter or adopt a family for the holidays. Visit a sick neighbor or bring a shut-in groceries.

Look around. What opportunities do you see to be the type of person you see in those feel-good videos?

Make a list of all the different ways that you could express your goodness, and then take action. Express your goodness.

Don’t wait for the opportunity to show up—like the dog running along the highway. Seek them out.

Stop watching the videos of humans doing good things. Instead, be a human doing good in the world. Then you won’t need to seek goodness, joy, and virtue in videos. You’ll demonstrate it.

How do (or will) you express your goodness? Tell me in a comment below.

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Photo courtesy GDJ /


2 thoughts on “Stop Searching for Goodness and Express It Instead”

  1. “Stop watching the videos of humans doing good things. Instead, be a human doing good in the world. Then you won’t need to seek goodness, joy, and virtue in videos. You’ll demonstrate it.”


    The tagline for my endangered species projects is “Promoting the plight of endangered species and the efforts to save them.” And on my websites I use text, images and videos to promote both the plight of endangered species and the efforts to save them. And this includes “videos of humans doing good things” by trying to save species from extinction.

    I liked your post, and I get the point you are trying to make. It’s like Gandhi’s “be the change you want to see in the world.” I get that. However I have to disagree with the idea that people should stop watching videos “of humans doing good things” and should just “be a human doing good in the world.” I think people should do both.

    Videos of people doing good in the world can have a positive impact on a person. In fact such a video might even have enough impact to help a person find the motivation or courage they need to start “being a human doing good in the world” if they are not already doing so. Not everyone has the kind of role models needed to inspire them, or show them how to do good things. I mean try being a vegetarian in a family of voracious meat eaters. Or try being someone who cares about the planet when four of your siblings are real estate agents!!!. I have lived both of those situations.

    Sometimes a person has to look outside their immediate surroundings for role models and inspiration. And sometimes they need to look outside their immediate circle to know they are not alone in their efforts of trying to be a good person in this world; a world which continues to “devalue” the worth of being a good person. And sometimes a video can fill that need.

    So, it is with these things in mind that I will continue to encourage people to watch videos about “humans who are doing good in the world.” And on my websites those videos will be about people who are trying to save endangered species from extinction.

    And I hope people will watch them.


    1. I totally understand your point, Craig. You are doing good in the world…and yes, we all want to be inspired to do good. We need that. But at some point we, too, need to do good.

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