On Happiness and Blissfulness: CREATIVE ALTRUISM

Lengua10,080 minutes! One week! Yes, that’s the time gone by since I last wrote on this blog. On my two previous articles dedicated to happiness and blissfulness (DEFINITION y GRATITUDE), I presented two exercises you can do to enhance your level of happiness. If you did not do them, I recommend you to have a look at them and to put you to the test by doing those exercises. I am sure they will do you good. Today I present anther exercise called “CREATIVE ALTRUISM” (for more information, have a look at the link at the bottom of this article by professor Raj Raghunathan).

What is the third capital sin against happiness? “The need to be loved and its opposite “the need to do everything on your own, alone”. Both cases represent two different types of personalities: the “needy” (those people who get desperate when they feel they are not love and they beg for the love of others) and the “evitative” (those who want to feel independent and want to do everything on their own avoiding beeing loved). What is the antidote against this sin? The need to love. Certainly, human beings need to feel we belong to “something”, a couple, a family, a group, a community, a society, an organization… It seems that “human touch” is essential for the development of a person in order to establish affection and love bonds. Harry Harlow (1905-1981) was a psychologist who made a series of experiments with baby monkeys during the decades of 50s and 60s in the 20th century. One of these experiments is really interesting and has to do with this “human touch” and the terrible consequences of the lack of it during childhood. At the bottom of this article, you will find a link entitled MOTHER LOVE to the video showing this experiment. I recommend you to watch it.

They usually say that happiness shared doubles and sadness shared divides. And although it is true you also have another saying “Evil of many, consolation of fools”, it is also true that pain is far more bearable when it is shared and that you feel happier when you share your happiness.

From the emotional point of view, the “needy” are desperate to feel loved at any cost, and this leads to some negative consequences that I will just sum up in one word: unhappiness. The “evitatives” want to feel independent, free, mentally strong, and this leads them to avoid getting involved in relationships. There are some studies showing that “evitative” people are usually unsatisfied with their jobs and they also feel unsatisfied when they have to ask for help to others. With their behaviour, they create a kind of estrangement with the others which, in turn, makes the others less collaborative. Thus, that estrangement gets bigger and bigger. Both behaviours, “needy” and “evitative”, are harmful to their health, because both of them generate unhappiness. How, then, can you solve this dichotomy between these two opposite extremes? With “secure attachment”, that is, keeping the balance between need and avoidance. In order to accomplish that, you can practice sefl compassion (being kind to youself), express gratitude and practice the need to love and give in an intelligent way to avoid “burnout”. It is demonstrated that generosity makes us happier, but “indiscriminate” generosity, however, is not good, because it can backfire. You must know when, whom and to what extent to give. Now, you may be thinking: “Ok, that’s ok, you have to give intelligently, but… how can you do that?” Here you are some rules:

  • give including yourself, that is, have into account your own needs as well as those of the other person, participate in the giving;
  • content the cost of the help (be aware of its cost);
  • exercise strategies that enhance the values of people;
  • see the impact of your generosity, that is, see the result of it;
  • HAVE FUN being generous.

Here you are this week’s exercise: CREATIVE ALTRUISM… and there is no other option but having fun with it. It is not about observing the altruistic behaviour of other people, but about acting yourself. Try to do the exercise with unkown people. You will have to make a kind of prank but in a different way. It is not about doing a favor to someone else or being good to people. It is about really making the “victim” of your prank have fun with it. And also you will have to follow the “3 rules of giving”: content the cost of giving, fun for both parties (you and the person you choose) and register the impact of your altruism. Let’s do it!

  1. Choose one person or group of people
  2. Create a plan or idea to carry out (if you cannot come up with any ideas, below you will find some).
  3. Write it down.
  4. Execute it (have in mind the cost of giviing, fun for both parties and register of the impact of your “prank”).

Questions a posteriori (answer them once you have implemented your idea)

  1. What was your idea?
  2. How did you execute your idea/plan? ¿Did you stick to “the 3 rules of giving”? If not, why?
  3. How did the person feel? (When you answer this question, focus on what that person said or experienced about your act of creative altruism.)
  4. How did you feel with this exercise? What was its impact on you?

In case you cannot come up with any ideas, here you are some:

  • Leave way too much tip next time you get a good service.
  • On a hot day, buy some bottles of water (20 for example) and give them to runners in a nearby park.
  • Invent some fun posters and stick them around your neighbourhood (remove them a couple of days later, of course).
  • Donate some books to a library, donate clothes to some organization or people who live in a poor neighbourhood.
  • Attend a show with a group of friends and cheer up the actors so that you make them feel the best actors in the world.
  • Pick up some wild flowers, make a bouquet and leave it at the door of some neighbour with a thank you note: “Thanks for being a great neighbour!”
  • Visit an elderly home and volunteer to sing, read or simply listen to the elderly stories.

If you don’t like these ideas, use your imagination and come up with some of your own. Good luck and… have a lot of fun! I will be back in about 604,800 seconds, that is, in a week. Til then, be happy!

Raj Raghunathan: Creative Altruism

Harry Harlow: MOTHER LOVE

Michael Thallium
Global Greatness Coach
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1 comment to On Happiness and Blissfulness: CREATIVE ALTRUISM

  • Claudia

    dar libros, ropa o lo que sea que “nos sobre”, no es altruismo, no creo que suponga ningún sacrificio personal, sí lo es dar cosas que no nos sobren, o que también necesitemos.

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