volunteers helping to pack first aid boxes

The Joy of Giving Yourself Away

There’s a saying that I’m putting to the test. The more you give, the more you receive. I don’t know if I’ve seen it come to fruition, but I do believe the best things in life are shared. I’ve never really cared about accumulating things, especially when I’m the only one that can enjoy them. I’m starting to put that into practice with not only just my things, but my time, my skill, and my effort. I know I’ll get more in return if I take the time to help someone for their betterment, not my own.

Giving Myself Away

I guess you can say that I’ve been trying to find myself these past couple years. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have been doing it all wrong. In order to find myself, I must give myself way. The 14th Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu summarize it best in their book, The Book of Joy. In order to find joy, I must lose myself to the service of others. This means that I give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Obligations Aren’t Going to Get You There

The trick is making sure that when giving myself away that it’s not out of obligation. Giving myself away at work is kind of tough because I get money in return. Even if I do my best, or exhaust myself with the work that I do, the paycheck remains the same. It also doesn’t really feel like I’m making anyone happy with my work because it’s expected of me to do my job. I think this is one of the reasons why work isn’t fulfilling. The expectations makes us feel like we’re forced to do so. The money makes it feel like if we don’t, then we won’t survive.

If I can find other ways to give myself away, I definitely will. Helping people with their struggles put my struggles in perspective. The definition of compassion that I’m using is being able to help people, knowing they are not in a position to help me back. I have to be pretty privileged to do so. Guess what? Everyone has that sense of privilege at different levels of life. Instead of the “woe is me” attitude, I can shift to an outlook of gratitude because I had the opportunity to help better the life of someone else. Even if it wasn’t life altering. By shifting my mindset to gratitude, happiness sets in.

The Problem with Our Definition of Gratitude

Can I get on a little riff about gratitude really quick? The way gratitude is positioned in today’s self-help space is not very gratifying. I’ve had a few gratitude journals that didn’t help with a thing. The issue with out gratitude is taught today is that it’s positioned as something you should be grateful for without having to do anything. Like I should be grateful that sky is blue, or the birds are chirping. It’s inherently selfish because the sky not be as perfect for someone else as it is for you. Another issue is that this sense of gratitude is very temporary. As soon as a cloud comes our way, we start complaining. This all changes once we see the gratitude in helping others. That’s why they call it… Thanksgiving.

Investing into Others

If you don’t think this is true, put it to the test. Treat it like crypto. It’s an investment that will soon payoff dividends. Instead of receiving money in return, you’ll start to see more joy in your life. If you are feeling unhappy, try to make someone else happy and see what happens. I feel like we are going to closer and closer to individualism, especially with this movement of self love. I get it. In order to love someone else, you must first love yourself. What if that’s not always true? What happens then when you need love from other people? You can’t survive on your own. In order to get love, you must give love. Just don’t expect the love to come from the person you just gave to.