The Secret to Happiness is Helping Others

LIFE'S ESSENCE - Katherine R. Oyson (The Freeman) - October 30, 2019 - 12:00am

There are people in our midst with whom whenever we ask a favor there is always a premium on it. They may not have realized that the secret to happiness is helping others.

Jenny Santi of Time website writes: “There is a Chinese saying that goes: ‘If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.’ ”

Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life in serving the poor and the destitute once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred, just feed one. Spread love anywhere.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echo is truly endless...”

For centuries, Santi says, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing. Happiness is found in helping others. She cites the following messages:

• “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” – Leo Tolstoy.

• “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

• “Making money is a happiness; making other people happy is a super happiness – Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize recipient

• “Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person.” – Goldie Hawn

Researches have shown that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier, but also healthier, wealthier, more productive and meaningful.

Some people say that giving can make us feel depleted and taken advantage of. However, there are ways that can help us to give until it hurts. Santi and Leo Babauta of Zenhabits.net website share the following tips:

• Give your time. The gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money. We don’t all have the same amount, but we all do have time on our hands, and can give some of this time to help others – whether that means we devote our lifetime to service, or just give a few hours each day or a few days a year.

• Smile and be friendly. Sometimes a simple little thing like this can put a smile and warm feeling in someone else’s heart, and make their day a little better. 

• Stop over to help. The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or someone in need of help, stop and ask how you can help. That’s how we can make other people’s day, and also our day.  kathy_oyson@yahoo.com

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