For most of us, happiness is the central preoccupation of life. This is natural and right, though for one reason or another it is seldom actually achieved. But why is this? We certainly try hard enough – the fault cannot possibly lie in any lack of effort.
I believe our efforts fail because we focus inward far more than we should.
The tendency, when we are hurting, is to withdraw from the world, from our problems, and to focus only on ourselves. The old adage ‘charity begins at home’ suggests that we should give to ourselves first, but I believe that a different approach will work better.
When you’re hurting don’t withdraw into your shell. Don’t shrink into your own space thinking that there’s some magical answer there. Don’t imagine that the search for true engagement can begin and end in your own mind, because it can’t. Reach out – not for help, but to help someone. The very act of reaching out will engage your mind, and the things you do and say to help your fellow human being will register in your own mind as advice worth listening to. We listen to ourselves, so why not make our self talk honest? When you try to help someone else who is in pain you are apt to be clear and concise and accurate – and isn’t that how we should talk to ourselves?
So when you’re feeling down, don’t try to help yourself. Help someone else instead. This will automatically help you, and if we all reached out instead of in this would be a much better world.