(Estimated reading time: 3 minutes)
“The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.” – Robert Baden Powell. Or how I would like to simplify it, “We are happy when people around us are.” Or you could just look at one of the most cliché quotes of all time, “It is better to give than to receive.”
This might sound a little overly altruistic and selfless. That’s the truth, though, at least for myself. Sure, we are happy when we get something we want or something good happens to us.
But don’t we all feel happy when we bring happiness to others and a smile to their faces? I think that’s because experiencing someone else’s gratitude towards your actions brings something more long-lasting and impactful than just self-happiness.
This isn’t a coincidence. Because humans are social animals. We constantly seek the approval of others of our kind. This is why we all need friends and family members, colleagues and fellow countrymen to feel belonged.
Receiving after giving might be more rewarding
Being loved is part of being human. We all want to matter to someone, we all want to be loved. But what most of us fail to understand is sometimes, we just have to give first. In fact, it is easier. Because you are in control of the action of giving. Receiving on the other hand, is harder because of the mere fact that someone has to give first.
The next time you expect someone to give, think about this, “We all want to be loved.” So, why not try loving that person first, unconditionally? Be the first one to give. Be the one to put the smile on the other person’s face. Receiving from someone whom you’ve given to before can sometimes be more rewarding than you’d expect.
Finding those who belong with us
The action of giving is indefinitely important. So is what you’re giving. When we give something to another person, it is usually something that is within us (that is if we’re true about it). When that transfers to someone else, that person either appreciates it – or not.
If the person doesn’t appreciate what we’ve given, it shouldn’t matter. It just shows we have different beliefs and we don’t belong in the same community. If the person appreciates our gift, however, that means we share the same beliefs. That means we belong. And that could very well be the start of a meaningful relationship.
Meaning relationships are the building blocks of long-lasting happiness
You could have guessed it – long-lasting happiness stems from the relationships we have in our lives. The people around us. Helping others is just one of the many ways to maintain a relationship but definitely an essential. Helping others is our way of showing our love too.
What do you do for people you love? Unconditional help, not expecting anything in return, from the bottom of our hearts. Anything just to put a smile on their faces. Anything just to show that they matter to us. Anything just to show that we belong with each other. Anything just for their happiness.
Start helping the person next to you
Simon Sinek, a TED-Talk sensation and author of Start With Why, said in his talks that the world is obsessed with helping just ourselves but not others. Even the bookstore is skewed towards the self – there are only Self Help books but not a Help Others section.
He is an advocate of helping others and he urges us to start by helping the person next to you. Make our everyday be about helping others. In that, we can find true long-lasting happiness. Because, “We are happy when people around us are.”
It is not too late to start. But now is the time.