“But how can helping someone ever make me happy?”
I asked my friend who had been trying too hard to convince me that real happiness lies in giving and not taking. The idea of giving being synonymous with happiness seemed very funny to me. And why wouldn’t it? We had always been taught that it’s a competitive world out there and we must always seek to accumulate as much money, power, and fame as we can. Wouldn’t giving be against this complete notion and how can it make us happy?
Now, What would a sane person do when stuck in a dilemma like this? Of course, conduct an experiment and we did the same.
Interestingly enough, We were in an engineering college and there were always chances of you meeting people in need of help. We found one immediately, a fresher trying to shift his luggage into his room from the corridor but struggling to do so. We went up to him and asked if he needs any help with it. He accepted gracefully and we went on to do the needful. It was weird at first for me and I am sure it was for him as well. (Since Arbitrary act of kindness is something we don’t see very often.)
After a bit of introspection, We concluded that my friend was actually right. It did make me feel happy, it did make me feel special about myself.
Why and How?
I was yet to discover that. But it surely gave me a start, a meaning I had been looking for.
Before that incident, I had always been longing to find a goal for myself or a vision that I can stick to but could never succeed in finding one. I used to do a lot of things which I was moderately good at but nothing really clicked. I had never felt any spark or ecstasy that would make me feel so proud of myself until that day.
But what really made me feel so happy?
It was my usefulness in the world. And the moment I found out that I can be useful to someone in a way I could have never imagined, It made me happy in ways I couldn’t explain. There must be something that I had been missing or unaware of but that day opened up so many doors for me.
Our brain is a sucker for dopamine, the more it gets, the more it needs.
For me, that day was the start of an endless pursuit of understanding the actual meaning of helping people out. It gave me that dopamine kick and I started doing more of it, started talking to a lot more people, helping them in ways they would want and that taught me a lot about human behavior, patterns, and decisions. It was startling for me at first but I found that almost all human behaviors are interlinked and we can make better decisions if we knew about the ways we think. The biggest issue with people struggling to understand and accept others originates from people struggling to understand themselves. A lot of people are clueless about who they are and why do they act in a certain way and that becomes a sure shot remedy for misery. To help people understand that, I went on to write my two books on self-help, “How to unleash your true potential” and “Finding the Magic in You” so that it reaches a larger audience and helps them out.
To summarize it in a few sentences, it all comes down to one important fact,
Giving doesn’t make you empty, it makes you full.
It makes you full of lessons, gratitude, and blessings of the order that you cannot even imagine.
How? Because it makes you realize you are surrounded by countless stories all around you other than yours, some of which are happier and some brutal. Only when we take that leap out from our story to observe the various other stories, we would realize how petty our miseries were. It would make us feel special about the story we are in, and help others who are in need of it.
Because, in the end, every story converges towards the same beautiful ending. It’s in our hands to decide how the rest of it goes.