Ripples #1230: Contributing Joy


The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness, the happiness of others.
—Paramahansa Yogananda
shared by Shailesh in Sudbury, MA via Facebook


Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
-Roger Ebert, Life Itself: A Memoir, shared by Sara in Madison, WI


For some people this is among the happiest times of their year while for others it is among the hardest times of the year. I bet for most of us it’s actually a weird mix of both: there’s plenty of good stuff to look forward to and get excited about AND there’s also some hard stuff to worry over and get stressed about.

If you’re stretched super thin right now, I hope you can scrounge around to find a few scraps of calm moments here or there, and maybe also identify bits of contentment that pop up…even just some small things that are going okay enough to notice, acknowledge, appreciate them. These are the little things that can bring a smile to your face…which could end up contributing a bit of joy to those who encounter your happy spirit.

If you’re in a good place and would like to amplify your happiness….get creative and get feisty about finding ways to contribute unexpected joy to the world. One of the easiest ways to do this is simply to build in extra time in your travels and errands and general hustle bustle this week. It immediately benefits YOU, providing a bit of extra breathing room to manage the inevitable bumps and detours that come along this time of year. This can in turn help keep you in a better mood which you can then ripple out to others.

Creating a little extra slack in your schedule also makes it easier to spot opportunities to unleash ripples of compassion and kindness to others: you’re more likely to notice someone who needs a boost and you’re more likely to have a little extra time and energy to actually provide that boost whether that is a little patience, a quick favor, or just that moment of direct eye contact with a warm smile and a nod or a wave.

Try it, and see…


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