Saturday, 25 May 2013

Probably the quickest way to be happy

“What I spent, I had; what I saved, I lost; what I gave, I have.”  German motto

I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly generous person. I’ve always been willing to help out whenever I can and would often go above and beyond to lend a hand. So imagine my surprise and indignation when someone pointed out that I’m actually quite stingy. Whaaaat? Me, stingy?

Oh yes, I was rather offended. How could someone even suggest I’m stingy? Normally, I would be defensive to a point where I might even lash out to this person. “How dare you call me stingy! Don’t you know how I helped this person? Do you even know who I am and what I do?” And so on and so on. That’s how I would normally handle this situation.

However, in this particular instance, I actually managed to stop myself getting defensive about the remark. I took it in and with all the restraint I could muster, I asked why she thinks I was stingy.

She told me that I don’t share enough. “What do you mean I don’t share enough?,” I asked, with anger rapidly surging through my voice. She calmly explained that I actually don’t share enough love and affection to others, especially those that are not close to me. She pointed out that I don’t share enough of myself to others so they too can benefit from my experiences and knowledge. She also said I tend to withdraw love and affection as easily when someone pisses me off, instead of clearing the air and working out a way to resolve the upset.

Those remarks jolted me. She was right. I have been stingy. In fact, I have been extremely selfish. I have been quick at cutting people off my life when they’ve done something to upset me and I have steadfastly refused to deal with people I don’t like. A lot of times, they don’t even know the reason why I don’t like them. As far as I’m concerned, they don’t deserve my love and affection so I ignore them. That’s the messed up part. People actually have to “deserve” my love and generosity first before they get it. Wow. No wonder I’ve been unable to form lasting and meaningful friendships and relationships. 

Realising how selfish I’ve been really shook me. I realised that if I continue behaving this way, I’d end up isolated, sad and alone. Not the kind of life I had in mind.

So I started sharing, cautiously at first. But I realised that there’s really no point in holding back. So I went on a sharing rampage. Well, not quite, but I shared more than I normally would have. I have a long way to go. It’s a work in progress, but the payoff has been amazing. I’ve been a happier person as a result.

Each time I do something for others without expecting anything in return, each time I share myself genuinely with others without them having to deserve it first, I get so much more than what I give. I feel happy instantly. It’s more effective than any mood-enhancing drug you could ever take (legally). It’s so true that the more you give, the more you receive. Don’t believe me? Try it and see for yourselfJ

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