Once we have our health and the necessities of life, it may be natural to pursue pleasure, excitement, and intellectual stimulation. Yet, if we pause to ask what has been most fulfilling and meaningful in our lives, it is likely that instances of sincere giving to others will be near the top of the list.
Knowing that your actions or words have contributed to someone’s well-being adds meaningful purpose to your life. It is wonderful to know that the way you’ve lived your life and how you’ve treated others has improved other people’s lives.
Contributing to others enhances not only their lives, but it is one of the greatest ways to enhance our own. Someone who helps others on a regular basis can have great impact on their lives and will never lack a sense of purpose and meaning in his or her own life.
Not everyone has the time or resources to contribute to others in a large-scale or consistent way, such as volunteer work or donations. This, however, does not exclude you from developing a giving nature. Giving to others can include small kindnesses such as a warm smile, sincere compliments, and encouraging words. Contributing to others becomes a way of being by consistently bringing the best of yourself to those with whom you interact.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD
Read “Over-functioning” to avoid going to the extreme of doing too much.