I’ve been reading a lot of self help books lately. There is one main focus that many of them all have in common…to not be so self-centered. In The Book of Joy the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu discuss how important it is to look at life through the eyes of ALL people, to remember there are billions of us all experiencing different difficulties. When we are focused on ourselves and how things affect us, it leads to a life of stress and anxiety. If we concentrate on how we can make others happy we will, in fact, become more joyful ourselves.
I started thinking about how everything in the digital age is so fixated on the self. Just consider how many selfies are posted everyday. Also, look at how many self improvement posts you see everyday, how to be thin, how to be a better wife, cook, boss, etc. And I wonder how many personality tests are on the web now. It is almost impossible these days not to focus on yourself.
The author of The Book of Joy, Douglas Abrams, also explains that we have a physical need to express generosity and our brains respond with greater flurry when we give, than when we receive. Consider how much fun Christmas is, for me anyway, I LOVE buying things for family and friends, getting gifts is fun too but I enjoying finding the right present much more than opening mine.
Maybe that’s it, the meaning of life, the secret to joy, is helping others. Could that be why we are all so depressed and anxious? Because we are focused too much on our own feelings.
This week, I’m going to adjust my outlook, or try anyway. I’m not going to worry about every little thing and how it will make me feel. I’m going to concentrate on how I’m making others feel, how I can bring joy into their lives. I’m going to volunteer and donate more. I’m already feeling energized just thinking about it.