When you think of someone who is selfish, what immediately comes to mind? Is it someone who is self-centred and only focused on their needs, to the exclusion of others?
Or is it someone who helps others?
You wouldn’t normally equate helping others with selfishness. Particularly when you provide help altruistically and are not expecting anything in return.
But even if you’re not expecting a reward, you’ll still get one because helping people makes you feel good. You feel happier and more content.
So, helping others doesn’t have to just be about what it does for the other person.
Think of it like this…
When you do something nice for someone else it makes you feel good. Particularly when the gesture is not expected or asked for.
If you walk down the street and you see someone struggling with their groceries and offer to help, you’ll usually get a lovely response in reply. If you unexpectedly help someone at work they’ll be very thankful.
When you do this, your brain releases chemicals (dopamine) that make you feel good.
These chemicals help you feel better about yourself and the world around you.
Research has shown that people who help other people are often found to be far happier than others who don’t.
So rather than think about helping others as a burden, delight in the knowledge that when you help someone you’re getting something from it as well.
Helping others helps you realise the positive forces in your life that others may not have. You can also be content with the fact that you’ve brightened someone else’s day.
You can selfishly horde the internal benefits you’ll acquire from helping other people. These benefits are just for you.
Embrace them. Be selfish about helping others, and relish in the internal feelings of happiness that you’ll feel when you do.
As Aristotle said: “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”.
Remember, change happens. Make it work for you.