Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When Helping Others Helps Yourself

Today while I was driving with my thirteen-year-old brother to Subway, I saw something that made me yell out, "Oh my gosh!" at least five times before understanding what I had taken in--I'm sure we've all had those moments. At a very busy intersection, I saw a young man wearing a grey hoodie roll out of his car having a seizure. The car was stopped and in the turning lane, but still--this man was having a seizure and no one was stopping to help. I won't lie, I almost didn't turn around. But I did, and when I arrived to the car, I saw a dark-skinned male most likely in his late forties talking on the phone. In thirty seconds, the boy I saw rolling out of the car had disappeared, the car's lights were flashing, the trunk was open, and the man was talking on his phone. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. When I asked him if everything was okay, all he said was, and rather rudely, "Yeah, my car's broken down, just go around me." I didn't even know how to take it in. My brother swears I was hallucinating, and I suppose all evidence points to the same conclusion, but I know I couldn't have just not seen it. 

After this event, I felt really good. Sure, there may not be something right with me if I actually did hallucinate something like that, but I felt great. I went out of my way to help a stranger. And although I couldn't do anything for the man, I did something for myself. I decided to stop thinking about myself for once and did a selfless act. I guess you could say I'm being conceited just by saying how good of a person I became for just that split second, but it doesn't change anything. Being there for other people not only makes them feel better, but also makes yourself feel better.

Even simple things like saving that last double chocolate chip cookie for your sibling or splitting your lunch with a friend who forgot theirs can make someone's day all the better. Complimenting on someone's new hairstyle is a great confidence booster for them, and if you're lucky, you'll get a compliment back, which is always welcoming. 

Point is, being selfless is a great feeling with great rewards. You're rewarded with their gratification and a pat on the back from your parent or even yourself. Volunteering in your community is a fantastic way to help others,  because not only does that relieve a special burden off people's backs, you feel like a new person. 

I've noticed that when I help others be happy, I'm also helping myself be happy. When you put aside your own selfish wants and start thinking about what other people need, you're automatically in a more optimistic position in life. Even when the consequences put you down in the dumps, knowing that you've made someone's day, week, month, or even a year so much better, it's enough to keep you satisfied at least for a little bit. 

I think it's healthiest if there's a balance between what you've done for others and what you've done solely for yourself. It isn't good to think doing any selfish act is bad and should be avoided at all costs--you gotta keep yourself happy, too, right? Just try to maintain that balance and life will be so much better. I had a much better night after I stopped for that man. I expected to be in an awful mood because I was visiting my mother, and she and I don't exactly have the best relationship. But when I came back from Subway, we all had a great time together, and we were all happy enough. 

Helping others DOES benefit yourself as well. Every single time.

1 comment:

  1. I actually read this and now I'm just randomly giving compliments to my friends. Thanks for making my life buttery