Archive for Helping

Where Happiness Lies

This week’s Positive Psych Challenge for class involved two activities that were opposite in nature:

1. Do something philanthropic – Do something nice for someone else.

2. Do one thing that is purely hedonistic – Participate in an activity that will make you feel good.

I think this week’s challenge was the hardest yet; it required a lot of thinking and also keeping an eye open for opportunities to engage in either 1. or 2. It also required me to define what I personally took each challenge to mean.

I began to think of what doing something for others entailed. This led me to ponder altruism; doing something completely for someone else with absolutely no benefit to yourself. Many times we might do something for someone else, but doing so may give us something in return such as recognition or material or monetary gain. But that’s not altruism. Altruism is setting aside your own needs and helping someone else. This week, I think I was able to accomplish this. A friend was requiring my assistance, however I felt so drained that I was in no position to even want to help her. I could have easily confessed that I was so tired, very hungry, and had a load of work to do before the end of the day, but I didn’t. I knew that she would have understood had I told her, but I also knew that she needed help. So I dropped the pursuit of my own interests in exchange for hers.

I also began to think of something that I could do to accomplish 2 that would make myself feel good. We seem do things for ourselves everyday: choosing the foods that we like, fun ways to spend our time, who we’d like to spend our time with, or the places we’d like to go. Therefore, I believe that 1. is the hardest to do because you must set aside your wants for those of others. I think doing things that make yourself feel good is important and necessary to well being, however, doing those things at the expense of others is where the danger lies.

Happiness lies in the midst of both doing things for yourself and doing things for others. Both are necessary. If you are only pursuing your own interests, you miss out on the joy that comes from doing things for others. Nevertheless, at the same time, if you are always self-sacrificing, you will drain yourself out.

What do you think is easiest to do? Doing something completely for others, or completely for yourself?


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Advent Conspiracy

I’ve viewed this video year after year, but I have to be honest, I never did much about it. This year I want that to be different.

Christmas is about Jesus, not about all of this hyped up materialism.

So what does this mean? Well, Christmas is celebrating Jesus, Jesus loves, and was born to later show the ultimate action of love. Therefore, to honour Him I want to focus much more on Him and on love this Christmas.

I want to give something that says “I really thought about you and love you“. And yeah, maybe surviving the crazy obstacle course of the local mall, risking becoming a victim of a massive stampede of miserable shoppers, and enduring the time-consuming checkout lines with customers who are ALWAYS right can also say “I invested much time and energy on this and practically almost died for you“.

I’m very much exaggerating; people don’t die from shopping… Usually. But I don’t want to be a part of that stressed-out and materialistic culture. It’s not the way that it was meant to be. What I’m saying is that I really want this Christmas to be meaningful. I want what I give and how I spend my time to truly reflect love. It’s not that I don’t think that something that I can buy has no meaning; but I want my gift to make a difference. Many gift giving seasons I fear that what I give will just be put to the wayside. Many times gifts are just given out of obligation and we become so stressed about it all. And there are so many things that we receive that are completely pointless. One example used countless times is that over-sized prickly sweater that your grandmother gives you without fail. Every year. Believe me, in my years of working in retail back in my high school days, I’ve seen tons of people buy these sweaters that will never be worn. Not even sure why we sold such hideous things! Maybe so that they can be pulled out for “Tacky Christmas Sweater Parties”?..

So here’s how I’m planning to make a difference this Christmas:

I’m going to tap into my creative side and hand-make personal gifts for my family and friends. I shall not mention what (presents must always be kept secret!), but I hope that it will show by my time and effort that I really care about them. AND, the money that I would have spent on gift giving, I will be selecting a resource from World Vision’s Christmas Catalogue that will help a family living in extreme poverty. Check out their website. You can buy anything from tasty fruit trees, school supplies, water purification items, multiplying rabbits, and plumping piglets.

Jesus was the ultimate gift of love. I want my gifts to reflect that love.

If you’re my friend or family member and are planning on purchasing something for me, I really don’t need anything. I would much rather you spend time with me, write to me, or something that demonstrates your love. And then possibly invest that money for someone who could benefit from it. I just feel like there are so many people out there that need much more than I do. And like Advent Conspiracy points out: 450 billion dollars spent on presents (in the States), and only 10 billion needed to solve the world’s clean water problem.

I’m not saying that gift giving is wrong; for many people it’s how they show their love. But for me this year, I don’t need anything and what I want as a gift is to help others in need.

Will you help me do this?

Worship fully.
Spend Less.
Give more.
Love ALL.

“God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?”

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