Helping others and happiness. Need I say more?
Humanity has needed help from others since the beginning of time. Our physical journey in life is to define and secure happiness. The ‘physical’ things like cars, jewelry, sex, money can not bring about secured happiness; its not enough and never is. Once these material things are secured our journey continues to pursue these things endlessly. They are all good things. I love money and work and….but these things never truly satisfy my soul. There is a constant yearning for more. For me, the ‘paper chase’ leaves me lonely, isolated, tired, and UNHAPPY.
The world is too diverse for me to live in the same box I’m going to die in. I know helping others creates happiness; shit I’m a therapist. “If you love what you do, then it’ll never feel like you’ve worked a day in your life”. This is true for me. However, not everyone can say that. I’m currently traveling in a country where I know very little of its language. This is terrifying for me because….I have to ask for help ALL THE TIME. What I found out is that when I ask for help I usually get it and I find my destination. When I don’t ask for help and I try to figure it out on my own, then I end up lost and feeling angry. See the parallels with life?
The locals have been fantastic. I have been meeting some really great people. I also see their faces light up when I ask for help. The smile is always an indicator of happiness. People generally like being asked for help. When I don’t have a fucking clue of what I’m doing and I ask for help, then it gives someone an opportunity to help me and the same is true for me.
The tribes and cultures our ancestors came from thrived in a community where people helped each other. It brought great contentment, unity, and happiness. Tremendous gratitude happens when I feel like I’ve contributed to the larger picture, humanity.
For you smarty pants—our brains secret neurotransmitters like dopamine (associated with pleasure) and oxytocin (associated with trust and attachment) when we help others. That’s why it feels good. So, something happens on a neurological level that actually creates happiness. You have ever been in a shitty mood and tried to help someone? More than likely you felt better afterward.
Helping others can seem daunting and it doesn’t have to be. I’m not asking you to volunteer at a homeless shelter or start a non-profit (even though you could). What about the small things like holding the door for someone, giving someone directions, paying for someone’s coffee, or listening to a friend who is struggling with something. The opportunities are endless.
Not only does it feel good to help others but it is our responsibility to help all those around us. My challenge for you is to help someone that you normally wouldn’t connect to. Chances are that you know who and what to do. Now do it!! Remember, we can all use more smiling people in the world.
(Means ‘until God’ in French)