The Gift Of Giving

We all know that it can get difficult in there sometimes. Mental health is finally becoming less of a stigma, and it is saving men and women alike from having a torrid time inside their own heads. After all, whether we realise it consciously or not, our biggest obstacle to anything we do or don’t do is the chatter that goes on between our two ears.

There are now many useful and effective tools that are available to us and that we are encouraged to utilise. It could be going out to meet friends, heading to the gym, reading a book or losing ourselves in work for a little while. These are all great methods that can give us a bit of respite from the chatter. They provide a bit of a break and a pause if we are not yet accustomed to letting go of thoughts naturally and by choice.

However, the relief we get from doing these things is often only temporary. Before long, we are back in our heads and playing a role or one of the many roles that we can sometimes lose ourselves in: father, son, mother, wife, boss, employee, helper, daughter, carer, cared for. 

As effective as some of the aforementioned activities are for escaping the self-centred chatter, it is worth pointing out that they are still, to a degree, self-centred. They come from a place of “what can I do to fix myself” or “what action can I take for me that will make myself feel better and my mind shut up for a little while”. In that regard, we never really leave the realm of the ‘me’ and all of its associated problems. The ‘me’ still remains the focus throughout, and is therefore never fully left behind.

What is often overlooked is our ability to do things for other people, without wanting or expecting anything in return. Just doing good for others for the sake of doing good for others. There is perhaps no means more effective for improving everyday mental health than this.

There are subtle clues in the terms ‘selfish’ and ‘selfless’. Are you thinking about yourself all the time? Or have you left your ‘self’ behind, becoming self ‘less’? It is no coincidence that we say we ‘lose ourselves’ in something when we are completely engaged with it.

It feels good to do things for others because at the deepest level, we close the gap between them and ourselves. The sense of separation disappears and we feel closer to that person through acting on their behalf. 

Evolution may have driven the development of the ego and acting for the survival of oneself, but our deepest being, in which we are intimately connected to others and all life, always outshines it whenever given the opportunity. Or more accurately, whenever we give it the opportunity to shine through us.

What is one thing that you can do for someone else today?