''Being Generous Enhances Happiness'' Uncategorized

”Being Generous Enhances Happiness”

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”Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people”.

Dennis Prager

It’s important that what thoughts you are feeding into your mind because your thoughts create your belief and experiences. You have positive thoughts and you have negative ones too. Nurture your mind with positive thoughts: kindness, empathy, compassion, peace, love, joy, humility,generosity, etc.

Once one’s physiological needs such as breathing, water, food, etc. and the feeling of security and safety are met, a person needs to feel love and belonging in order to grow. I think this is much because of the drive love gives us in order to reach the next levels of esteem and then to be content with our lives.

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Given the importance of the need to be loved, it isn’t surprising that most of us believe that a significant determinant of our happiness is whether we feel loved and cared for. people rate “having healthy relationships” as one of their top goals—on par with the goal of “leading a happy and fulfilling life.”

In our pursuit of the need to be loved, however, most of us fail to recognize that we have a parallel need: the need to love and care for others. This desire, it turns out, is just as strong as the need to be loved and nurtured. It is the desire to love and take care of others that underlies the phenomenon of “cute aggression(link is external).” Cute aggression refers to the tendency to pinch, hug, or otherwise express love for others—particularly cute babies, kittens or puppies—in ways that mildly hurt or cause discomfort for the object of our affection.

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We know that the desire to love and care for others is a hard-wired and deep-seated because fulfillment of this desire enhances our happiness levels. In other words, expressing love or compassion for others benefits not just the recipient of affection, but also its perpetrator.

And what’s more, it appears that even small acts of kindness generate just as much happiness as do lofty acts. If the need to love is hardwired and universal and is also a powerful determinant of happiness, how come many of us aren’t aware of it? Why, for example, don’t we respond to the question, “What would make you most happy?” with “serving others” of “showering love on someone” than with “money” or “being loved”?

The answer, in my opinion, has to do with the messages to which we are routinely exposed from our care-takers and the media. These messages suggest to us that our happiness lies in being the recipient of others’ attention, love, and respect, rather than in being the donors of attention, love, and respect. For example, most of us are explicitly or implicitly told that happiness lies in achieving self-enhancing goals such as career success, wealth, fame, or power. The need to love and care for others, in contrast, is rarely emphasized, except perhaps in the arts.

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Knowing all this, what should a happiness maximizer do?

The Dalai Lama

In my opinion, the happiness maximizer would be well advised to follow the Dalai Lama’s dictum: Be Selfish—Be Generous

What goes around…ComesAround

There are at least three reasons why those who practice generosity experience a boost in happiness levels. First, because people have an inherent propensity to be fair to others, recipients of generosity feel pressured to reciprocate it. Thus, when you are generous to others, you attract generous behaviors from them in return. In other words, what goes around, comes around. Second, in a phenomenon known as homophily, when you are generous, chances are, you will attract others who are similarly generous to you. And hanging out with generous and compassionate people is, for obvious reasons, more happiness-enhancing than is hanging out with self-centered and materialistic people.

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Finally–and this may be the most important reason why being generous enhances happiness levels–is because of the story you tell yourself. When you are generous, the story you tell yourself is that you have everything you need and more, which is why you can afford to be generous. In contrast, when you are miserly and greedy with your affection, the story you tell yourself is that you are a beggar who is dissatisfied with what you have and that you need more to be happy.

A well-kept secret to happiness, then, is to practice generosity. To derive a boost in happiness levels through generosity, however, it is not enough to recognize the link between the need to love and happiness; it is important to explicitly exhibit generosity—or “giftivism,”

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9 comments

  1. I am so surprised that my tendency to grab my kid’s hand and rub it or smacking them on the behind as they pass me actually is a thing. “Cute Aggression” is a phrase I have never heard before but I use it all the time. My daughter is especially on top if it and will keep turning around to watch me and catch me about to pop her lovingly. She always laughs and screams out “Mom, what are you doing” It is so funny and cute. Soon she will be grown but we will still share our “Cute Aggression” Your pictures are really engaging and effective, nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also agree that being a generous spirit who looks out for others is the only way to live a good life. We give donations to charity all year long, we go and help feed those less fortunate than we are, we pray for those in need, it all goes hand in hand with being a believer in the divine power of God. Great post! Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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