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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

Giving To Others To Be Our Own Kind of Happy

Life experience changes us.

We get jaded as people disappoint us or let us down. If it is true that we were born to think of others, then we have to try and resist the urge to feel selfish, withhold from others, and look the other way when we could help someone in need. Wouldn't it be nice if every once in a while we "gave" just because we wanted to? What if we did it because we could?

What if everyone lived knowing the greatest happiness is giving to others? What if everyone was like 3 year old Emily in the video below who doesn't hesitate to give what she has to help someone else?

My boys and I went out to dinner recently to a Chili's where we live in Plano Texas. Near us was a table with what looked like a grandmother, her adult daughter and a small child. My boys noticed how the two women took care of the toddler. It got us talking at our table about what my boys were like when they were that age.

As I told them stories of how they use to knock food off the table, grab for drinks only to spill, and how one time Chase talked a server into giving us a free dessert, we all laughed about how they will go through the same things as parents. That got them noticing how the young mother struggled to keep her son quiet, how she hardly was able to eat her own meal, and how the grandmother tried to help where she could.

The women at the other table were laughing as they tried to stay one step ahead of the little boy. They weren't frustrated. That got us talking about how we enjoyed watching them.

After a while, the other table noticed us watching them. Okay, that was embarrassing. But, the grandmother and mother smiled at me and I smiled back. We had a secret code where I knew they knew we were enjoying them. We weren't judging them.

As we paid our bill, my 13 year old asked me if we could pay for the bill at the other table.

We did - because we could. We wanted to - it made us happy. When I told our waiter what we wanted to do, my only request was that he tell them their bill was taken care of after we left the parking lot.

After all, it is not about the thank you. It's about the giving.

And that is what makes us happy.

I challenge each one of you to do something today to give. It will make you happy.

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