Has the phrase “Happy to help” lost its meaning?
It’s a phrase we often use when someone thanks us for the kindness we extended to them. Yet I believe that it has been used so often that it has lost its true meaning. It’s as if we’ve taken for granted that what we’ve done is no big deal. In the process we deprive ourselves, and those we’ve helped, of the true meaning of this statement.
While it may not have taken much effort on your part to have helped another person, getting an answer to their question or a solution to their problem is a big deal for them. It’s the difference between calm, peace and a course of action or fear, anxiety and frustration for them.
Savor the moment
While I do not encourage a “look how great I am” attitude, I do want you to take time to savor the success you had in having a positive impact on someone’s life. You didn’t do it for the recognition or for personal gain; you did it to help someone in need. There is no more noble gesture. One that needs to be savored.
The reasons that I want you to take a few seconds to savor your success are:
- Ripple effect.
As you become more aware of how you helped someone, you’ll see more opportunities to be of service. If you don’t take time to savor your success, you’ll miss opportunities to enrich the lives of others as well as your own.
There is joy in helping others. Yet we often short circuit that joy by dismissing what we did as “no big deal.” In addition to robbing ourselves of this joy, we inadvertently limit the joy that the other person’s expression of appreciation afford them. Without realizing it, when we dismiss what we did as being no big deal, we send a message that it was inconsequential which in turn deflates the joy of the person helped. The person helped wants you to share their joy, not dismiss it or devalue it.
Joy and success are to be savored as the fruit of a life well-lived.
If you don’t take time to savor your success, you’ll minimize the impact that you’re having. I often say that if what I did helped only one person it was worth the effort. But when I step back from that attitude, I realize that what I do never impacts only one person. While that effort may have initially only helped one person, I know the person will take what they’ve learned and help others. I would lose sight of this benefit of helping others if I didn’t take time to savor my success.
Indeed, we might be tempted to dismiss an opportunity if we feel that it’s only going to help one person. We’re unlikely to fall victim to that temptation when we realize that we’re never going to help only one person.
One of the things I’ve learned is that the more frequently I enjoy the psychic rewards of helping others, the more I want to help others. Savoring the success ensures continuous effort on my part to enrich others’ lives so that we both enjoy richer, fuller lives.
I’m not suggesting that you while away hours thinking about how great you are. Our joy comes from serving others in their time of need so we need to devote as much time as possible in that effort.
But taking just 30 seconds to realize what you did that made a difference, to allow the joy and appreciation the other person experiences energize your soul, to remind yourself of the ripple effect your actions will have and that you want to continue these efforts as often as humanly possible, assures you a happier, healthier future.
For our kids
Help your kids learn to balance savoring the joy of helping others against enlarging their ego. As they find this balance, they will enjoy their status as caring, sharing human beings.
Feel free to share this blog with those whom you feel would benefit from this message. It’s an easy way to say “I love you. I’m thinking of you.”
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your thoughts in a comment.
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Dale, As always great post and reminder of how the simplicity of our actions impact so many people because of the ripple effect!
For me I love to see people move in the direction of achieving their potential as a result of our interaction. It give me great joy!
And it should, Bill. People often underestimate their own potential. When you can show them how truly gifted they are, you do them and the world a great service. Keep up the great work.