Do you have a favourite park or forest or place in nature you like to visit? What makes that place so special? Is it the deep smell of the trees or the beauty of the flowers? The sweet songs from the birds or the salt air that caresses your skin? Or is it the sound the forest makes when you listen to the little critters that make it their home? I find it hard to pick just one as they all fill my heart with joy. But what if you were no longer able to take in this extraordinary healing energy that nature provides?
Do you know what one of the best secrets for living a joyful life is? The answer might surprise you. The answer is quoted by the famous children’s writer Lewis Carroll who said: “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.” I so love that quote. And it’s the perfect one for the topic of this month’s joy habit theme from Chapter 32 – Be Helpful of my book Being Joy™.
Are you feeling a bit anxious with all the news and changes bombarding you from every direction? Feeling overwhelmed from other’s expectations? Do you need a lift today? I’ve found that one of the best antidotes for this syndrome, other than asking for help yourself is to extend your hand to another. Just like in our opening quote in which John Holmes says that when you turn your attention to lifting up another, your own problems seem a little less troubling. You see, this disruption of myopic thought helps to put things in perspective resulting in a mental and physical reset. So, by helping someone else, you end up helping yourself in the process. I love this boomerang effect! Last week I challenged you to identify one family member that you felt could use some help but to do it without judgment or conditions. I asked that you reach out and extend help or depending on the circumstances, offer it without them knowing it was you.
Families can be a strange bunch. You don’t get to pick them, and they are usually there for life. But if you’ve been fortunate like me, you have had more connection than absence, more harmony than conflict, and more good memories than bad ones. I know that isn’t the case for many. I’ve heard stories of sisters who haven’t spoken in years or of words spoken in the heat of the moment that have resulted in a life-long estrangement between a father and son. And only when the last breath was taken was there forgiveness and peace between the two. So often the silent cries of a sibling, parent, or teen go unnoticed because of the need to be right instead of kind. Or the drift of time separates conversations and the needs of the other go unnoticed. But it’s at those very times that we need to put aside petty squabbles and extend the hand of helpfulness. For as this post’s opening quote reminds us, when you help another, you help yourself. I call it healing through helping.
Do you find it difficult to ask for help? Do you prefer to do things yourself rather than delegating tasks to others? Are you tired yet? I hear that complaint so often from people I know. In fact, years ago I used to be one of those people. Never comfortable asking for advice – I thought I would be judged for not knowing. I assumed no one could do it as well as I could, so I carried the entire burden of the chore or the decision on my tired shoulders. No wonder I was burnt out, no longer happy with what I was doing for work or in my personal life. Feeling suffocated and buried under the weight of carrying the responsibly for everyone else on my shoulders. Good grief! Who did I think I was anyway – Super Woman? If this describes you then give yourself a break by Being Helpful to yourself. After all, you can’t help anyone else if you’re not prepared to help yourself. Like I repeatedly remind my readers, everything starts with “the self”.