Friday, July 28, 2017

Insight - What makes you happy seems to also make you strong by Lorraine Glowczak

There is something about giving to others that creates a level of happiness within us. In fact, in this week’s “On the spot” question: “What are a few things that make you really happy?”  I was not surprised when a few answered with, “When I help others.”

Going above and beyond your daily demands to serve others or the community in some way, no
matter what it is, gives us a sense of purpose. But it also seems to expand our awareness about the plight of others’ lives and makes us more kind and understanding.

According to Dr. Thomas Plante, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Stanford University, “When [serving others] you have a sense of how much of the world lives (not the Hollywood celebrities and even some of your peers), you have a better perspective on life as well as the hassles and challenges of our lives too. Additionally, you experience more empathy, compassion, and solidarity with others as well.” He also states that serving others creates a resiliency.

The unfortunate thing about giving your time passionately is that you are also exposed to critics - those who sit on the sidelines pointing out your errors or ways you could be doing it better. I have witnessed this lately, and to be quite frank, I am flabbergasted.
But by being a witness to this, I have been fortunate to notice that those who give (and thus are happier) have really tough skin. They prove to me that Dr. Plante is right in his assertions. They may feel the pain of the rock thrown at them, but they are resilient, too. They stand up, shake off the painful words and keep moving forward - maybe they learn a little and then continue on to do their thing, giving to the world in positive ways.

But what moves me the most is that these “givers” feel empathy and compassion to their critic. Not that they don’t experience human emotions and anger in the beginning - but at the end of the day (or perhaps two or three) they reach a level of benevolence that doesn’t hold them back. And they, I assume, go to bed happy.

So, it seems through recent observations of others that what makes you happy also makes you strong. Those who give seem to grow thick skin that can repel some of the hard and dirty boulders thrown their way. I admire that. Kudos to those who serve the greater good; leaving the critics in their dust. If this is you, keep up the good work.

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