Helping people is the first step in finding meaning in life. Our world is full of injustices. The more that we do in our privilege to help others helps level the playing field. Love for people comes from a place of abundance. It's an act of self-sacrifice that helps show people that there is goodness in the world. Simple acts of kindness help you feel better about yourself and bring about a better society.
Studies have shown that helping people goes "hand in hand with meaningfulness". We find a sense of purpose outside of ourselves. Psychologists define wellbeing as either hedonic (a sense of happiness) or eudaimonic (a sense of meaning and purpose). Researchers suspect that helping people has an important link to a sense of meaning. Other studies have also found that social connections were important to happiness and meaning.
Benefits of Helping Others
Helping others have a great impact on happiness and health. The benefits of helping others include increased happiness and boost emotional wellbeing. Activities like volunteering are social at their core. It helps bring you closer to others. It creates social connections that strengthen your bond to your community and network. Altruistic people tend to find meaning in service. Service and relationships go hand-in-hand to bring positive feelings into your life.
Caring for others is a powerful force in positive psychology. When you care for others, you stop worrying all about yourself. In some cases, it even reduces symptoms of chronic pain. It also may help reduce stress and symptoms of depression. It allows you to put your life in perspective in the grand scheme of things.
Knowing that you are making a positive impact gives you purpose. It leaves undeniable evidence that you are putting goodness into the world. The best part? It's free to start. The only thing you need is an open heart and a time commitment.
Discovering Your Purpose
If you are currently struggling to find a purpose, helping people can be the beginning of finding life satisfaction. The purpose of life is discovered in the community. Happy people are engrained within a loving community. When you are rooted in strong and deep relationships, you can find meaning in your life.
Helping people can establish your identity. When you donate your time and efforts to helping people, you will feel satisfied that you are bringing good into the world. Love and compassion are the catalysts for real meaningful change. When you identify as a person who brings goodness into the world, you will engage in prosocial behavior that inspires others.
Helping is Contagious
Helping others is contagious. When people see goodness in the world, they are more likely to engage in good themselves. It's an easy way to multiply good in the world. It only takes one person to start the domino effect. Give with no expectation of return. Love people even when they aren't grateful. In Gandhi's words:
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.
Kindness is infectious. It's magnetic to others. When people see kindness radiating from you, they want to draw around you. Start by being a catalyst that inspires greater change. Find out how to bring people closer to you. Start building long-term relationships that brighten your life. Be a person that provides value to the people around them.
Helping people is a powerful force. It gives you a greater sense of wellbeing. It helps you feel happy in life. It gives you a greater sense of purpose. It even puts momentum towards bettering the world. Helping people requires self-sacrifice. It requires your most valuable resource -- time. But when you do it, you knock the first domino to create a chain of events to make the world a better, more compassionate place. The world is not a happy place. It's full of injustice and unkindness. But when you make the decision to help others, you help level the playing field for the people struggling. You turn the equilibrium towards goodness. Be the catalyst for change that moves the world into a better future.