You know what is better than doing something nice for yourself, doing something incredible for another. If you want to understand pure and long lasting joy, do an amazing act of kindness for another human being.
In the past I have purchased nice things for myself and it felt great. The happiness that I experienced in that moment and the rest of the day does not compare to the joy of when you do something nice for someone else. I have talked a lot about taking care of yourself before you try to help others. Just like the flight information on a commercial airplane trip they tell you, in the event of an emergency get your mask on first and then you may assist others around you. If the airlines have it down maybe we could figure that out by now. Never sacrifice your well being or your future. When you have your oxygen mask on and secure, that is when you can help others.
What does helping others look like? Financially you can pay someone’s check at a restaurant, you can pay to get their car repaired, you can buy a family Christmas presents and a turkey dinner and you can buy a new mom shopping in target a cup of coffee that says you got this but here’s a little help.
Emotionally, you can ask someone how they are doing and anticipate talking with them for several minutes to listen to their answer, you can offer to hold a crying baby on an airplane so the parents have a moment to breathe and reset, you can compliment a heavy set person at the gym on their dedication and hard work and you can help an elderly person to find their car in the parking lot if they seem confused or lost.
Physically, you can help someone by letting them spend the day at your house after divorce papers are served to their spouse, you can offer to meet someone at the gym a few days a week to keep them accountable, you can open doors for strangers (this seems to happen less and less often), you can have your car prepared for an emergency with a first aid kit, a blanket, water and packaged food. You never know when you may come across an accident on the road and a blanket serves as warmth and something to put on the hot cement to keep people from burning, water is always a must, the food can help if a car is broken down with a family and they have some young kids or someone that has diabetes, first aid is great to learn and even better to have handy at all times. As I live 3 hours from the nearest wal-mart and one hour from the closest fast food there is a lot of driving going on in our day to day life and that it why it is a must for us to have all of the supplies we may need in case of an emergency. Physically being able to help others is not only impactful but it can truly save lives.
Helping others can have a long lasting effect on their lives. When I was 8 years old my family was in a car accident with a pick up truck that ran a red light. we spun a 180 and landing up on the curb and our car was totaled. My parents, brothers and myself were all shaken up but I remember this one lady in a big suburban and she offered us all a ride back to our house. Her vehicle smelled fresh and the air conditioning was so nice after being outside in over one hundred degree weather. She drove peacefully back to our house with some light music playing on the radio. I won’t forget that moment because it was so calming in a scary situation. She might not have thought much of it but it has lasted over 20 years for me. Do for others, you may never find out what your actions do for others but it might change their life, or it might just bring an unrealistic calm to their vulnerable moments.