By Kathleen Dorson, Business Trainer & Consultant, Win Win Fire Teams, LLC
If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone. — Chinese Proverb
What compels us to take care of others, and why are we happier when we do? A study done by the University of California concluded, “When it comes to the pursuit of happiness, popular culture encourages a focus on oneself and on one’s needs. Mounting evidence, by contrast, suggests that being kind to others (i.e., engaging in prosocial behavior) consistently leads to increases in happiness.” We’ve all experienced times when we have felt greater happiness and times when it is seems to be elusive.
As a college student, I experienced a deeply profound event. I was married at the time with a small child and had gone back to school to finish my business degree. An evening class I was attending was meeting for the last time, and I noticed a woman that seemed to be acting a little strangely that night. She and I were the last ones out of the room and, though I needed to get home to my little one, I reached out and asked if everything was ok. She looked at me with such despair that I took her to a seat and started to talk with her. After a few minutes, she told me she had a purse full of pills and was planning on ending her life that night. I talked with her until the instructor came outside check on us. We were able to get the help this young woman needed. I met up with her shortly after to see how she was doing. Just reaching out to her had given her the touch she needed to take a pause and stop what she was about to do. I’m grateful for that tug I felt to reach out to her and simply ask if she was ok.
As a teenager, I learned that if depression started to overtake me, I needed to reach out to someone else to help them in some way, and it would put me back into a happier place. So, why do we feel better about ourselves and others when we give of ourselves? I believe it is because we are social beings. Our survival depends on others, whether as babies, small children, adults needing support and love, or when we are older and no longer able to take care of our needs. More than survival alone, we need love and interaction that is meaningful. The greatest punishment in prison is solitary confinement. In an article by George Dvorsky, he states, “Disturbingly, solitary confinement beyond 15 days leads directly to severe and irreversible psychological harm.” We are built to need other people. When we take care of other people, it touches a part of us that brings joy. We are doing what we are meant to do as human beings.
We are whole beings, when something is out of balance or not working in one area of our life, all the other areas struggle to flourish properly. Fix what isn’t working, and it all comes together in amazing success.
Kathleen Dorson is available to discuss your business needs. She has also worked as a health and life coach and utilizes all her skills and knowledge for her clients. Call 480 890-0100 or go to winwinfireteams.com to request a consultation with Kathleen or one of the other coaches with Win Win.
Sources available upon request.