Like so many things in life, happiness is a matter of perspective. When you are in a state of trepidation, or even a little depressed, it’s easy to get caught up in your own petty emotions. The more you think about your situation, the darker your thoughts tend to get, and the uglier the situation gets, until moving forward seems impossible. This is exactly why one should love this quote by Mark Twain, who said,
“ The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up”.
As we see, there is a lot of wisdom in this simple statement. There are times when we are depressed and we are unable to talk ourselves out of those situations. At those moments, just try to help someone selflessly-the joy of seeing that person smile will cheer you up from the inside. In helping others, rather than seeking our own gain, we find great freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Doing so accomplishes several things. First and foremost, helping others gives us a shot at happiness-many of us love to see other people smile. Second, helping others gives us a perspective on our own problems-helps us figure out what can actually make us content. Then it might happen that we will be able to find that our lives are not as tragic and miserable as they seem to us in our minds. There are so many ways we can make this world a better place to dwell, simultaneously increasing our own happiness. Maybe we can tutor the small children of our neighborhood in basic subjects in which they need guidance. Or perhaps there is a small nursing home in our area which has problem hiring nurses-we can work there part-time helping out the patients. Informal chatting with a lonely neighbor or friend and discussing your problems over a cup of coffee will help ease you both. Even donating a small part of your blood once every quarter will gradually help someone and the thought of a dying patient being saved by your donated blood will bring a smile on your face. So, as Ralph Waldo Emerson has said,
“ The purpose of life is not to be happy . It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”