What You Do, Comes Back To You: Helping Someone Should Make You Happy Too

I was snug in bed, settled down for the evening and ready to binge watch my latest Netflix obsession before falling asleep.  My phone tolled the chimes that ring when I receive a text message. I felt around for it, eyes still on the television, expecting it to be a message from one of my kids. It was not.

What You Do, Comes Back To You: Helping Someone Should Make You Happy Too

“I’m 3 hours away for a work event tomorrow and forgot my outfit. I don’t have anything to wear. I’m a mess. Can you help?”

I looked longingly at the cup of green tea and bowl of popcorn sitting next to me.

“What do you need?” I messaged my friend back, hoping it would be something easy to accomplish, from my bed.

“I need you to get my outfit and bring it to someone who is driving here tonight.”

She texted me the two addresses, both of which sat at opposing ends of Manhattan.

Two voices in my head started talking to me once.  One said, “Yes, get up and help your friend, it’s no big deal.” The other said, “Ugh. Stay where you are, it’s late, you’re already in bed for the night and you’re entitled to this.”

I shook off vague feelings of obligation as a motivator and decided to lend a hand in the spirit of friendship. It took me less time than imagined to get the clothes and deliver them. It was an easy task that made my friend happy and relieved, and, funny thing, I felt the same happiness and relief! Hmm. There’s a lesson here, I realized:

Shifting my perspective on this favor from “I have to do it” to “I want to do it” allowed me to share in her feelings.  Too often, doing things out of assumed obligation and duty as motivators can produce feelings of depletion and loss, especially that of losing time.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  In changing nothing but my perspective on this favor – in seeing it as something I wanted to help with – I was also able to see that I was using my time, not losing my time.

We all have the power to see situations we are faced with, in a positive light. By doing this, we will be able to share in the goodness our actions enable.

She had a good meeting the next day. I had a good night’s sleep.

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