I have a confession…I snuck in from north of the border 17 years ago. Arriving in Sydney as an 18 year old girl who grew up in Brissy was quite daunting. The sheer size of the city was overwhelming, but more so was how rude Sydney folk appeared to be.
Walking through the streets, no one made eye contact, in fact it appeared they made a concerted effort to look straight through me or the other way as if in disgust. Driving in Sydney was terrifying, narrow lanes, people sitting on your tail, cutting you off, blocking you from merging, yelling, swearing and flipping you off. And that was all before I got to work, which happened to be my first experience working with older women who enjoyed driving the younger girls out of the office. And if they were in tears that was considered an added bonus. Add to it not knowing anyone in the city, being broke and it wasn’t long before I found myself in my tiny bedsitter with my generic brand instant noodles feeling pretty miserable at the end of most days.
So, what does this have to do with happiness? Sounds pretty depressing so far. I was reflecting the other day why I feel so different these days vs the pain and struggle of the early days and it hit me. In the early years I think the internal dialogue went something like this, “Why are they trying to make my life harder, I mean come on, what have I done?” These days I find myself moving through my day asking “how can I help make their life a little easier?” It is such a simple shift in question, but what an impact it has made on my happiness and on those around me. If you ever find yourself feeling down and out, go out and help someone. When you start to look at the world through the lens of how you can contribute to it and make it better, it impossible not to feel good.
There are so many opportunities every day for each of us to make someone’s life a little easier. Whether they are large or small acts, each creates a wave a good energy and momentum in your world. You can donate, organise fundraising for a friend who’s struggling or volunteer with a number of wonderful organisations. I promise you all of these will leave you feeling wonderfully happy.
For every action you can take each day to contribute to others, you increase your own happiness in return. Try smiling at the people who cross your path, let another driver in front of your during peak hour, pay someone a compliment, give your loose change to the salvo guy, leave your $2 coin in the trolley for the next person, tell someone how much they mean to you, share a positive message, pick up a piece of rubbish you can see on the ground, ask the old lady who looks lost if she is ok. Really, the list of acts to heighten your happiness is endless. Just do something, anything to make another persons life a little easier.
I hear people say “they just don’t have the time or money to ‘contribute’ right now.” They have work, families, oh and that really big deadline coming up. I have some tough love for you, contribution isn’t really something you DO adhoc, it’s how you ARE! Everyone has the time and capability to bring some compassion and consideration to the way they participate in this world.
The key to bringing more happiness into our own lives is so simple, contribute to another’s happiness. Be a part of the happy movement to help restore faith in society.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer.
By Johanna Faccini