At the end of his letter for James Harmon’s published collection of letters, Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two, Joe Dallesandro leaves the reader with one final piece of advice, “If you have to be beautiful, then do beautiful things for someone other than yourself.” This quote shows an idea of personal sacrifice, a way of looking deep within ourselves, and thoughtfulness for others.
In this quote I really enjoy the idea of being beautiful in the ways in which you help other people. It becomes very easy in life to constantly think about yourself, and how each action you take is going to be beneficial for yourself. It is not too often that we think of how we can do something meaningful for others, and even rarer still that we think of how we can do something for another person without thinking of how it will come back to benefit us in the future. I know that one of my struggles involves the desire to do positive things like volunteer or donate to worthy causes without my motivation for those things being my own personal gain. When I donate to charity I know that I will have a personal feeling of satisfaction from being a good person and helping out. Times when I have sacrificed time to volunteer and assist with things have also had an underlying motivating factor of knowing that my volunteering could be a resume booster, or possibly help me network.
By trying to think of making personal sacrifices for the good of others in the frame that Dallesandro provides us, I think we can avoid having so many of the hangups I described earlier. When we focus on our own outward beauty and appearance we become more self absorbed, but if we try to be beautiful on the inside, and try to be beautiful through actions that are geared towards other people, then we create an attitude that is as much about serving others as ourselves.