“The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” ~ Leo Rosten
Life can be so very trying at times. We can find ourselves alone, we might fall on hard times, lose our health, endure great physical or emotional pain, make decisions we regret, suffer loss or be faced with a mountain of other problems.
But today I don’t want to talk about your problems. I want to share with you a personal philosophy that has helped me through the darkest of days. It’s no fix for whatever you’re facing and yet it can often illuminate answers and bring light into your own darkness. That philosophy is to practice kindness and to encourage others.
When we take our focus off our own hurt or emptiness, and find a way to serve others, something profound happens. Our life is vested with a deeper meaning. Our suffering becomes less significant, or more tolerable. And we find something outside ourselves that helps us to understand that we matter, that in some way we can have a part in the wider world, even if it is not the role we had envisioned for ourselves. Our vibration is lifted. Our soul finds a way to free itself from this cage of pain.
Conversely, if we engage in bitterness, cruelty, criticism and tearing people down these actions seem to magnify our pain and unhappiness. Our vibration is lowered. We attract more suffering and become enmeshed with our problems.
There are many ways that we can encourage others; a kind word, a smile, a thoughtful comment, a hug or a pat on the arm, acknowledging someone’s efforts, being enthusiastic about their successes and kind about their failures. You could try praise, gratitude, a short email, a card in the mail, a hug, a softly whispered ‘Don’t give up, I have faith in you,” a rowdy “Come on, you can do it!”
Give someone the gift of your interest. Listen to them, and care about what they say and how they say it. Encourage them to share and to open up to you. Be someone they can trust and confide in.
Lend a hand. Offers of help can go a long way when someone is struggling with their own problems. Specific advice and ideas that are supported by your own wisdom and experience can be very useful when someone is just starting out.
Affirm positive actions and attitudes. It means so much when others notice and validate our efforts.
Speak well of people. Introduce and connect people to each other. Build friendships, and help create communities.
To be productive, to lift up others, to practice kindness, to encourage – these things matter, and they are a magical balm to life’s greatest pains, and for the most weary of souls.
You might find these posts useful too: