When we are stressed it is very easy to be internally focused. Why wouldn’t we be? When I am aggravated and annoyed, it is all about MY needs, after all, isn’t it? If I want to be productive, I’d better rid myself of all hindrances in my way, including pesky people.
Why in the world would I want to interrupt my important project to do something for someone else, when clearly, I am the one in need?
When we first started dating, my boyfriend was leaving my apartment one night. Upon arriving at his car, he saw that my neighbor, Mark, was passed out on it. [I really don’t live in the ghetto].
“Uh, can I help you?” he asked.
“I’ve got the gout,” was the unexpected reply. He mumbled something about, “They say it’s the drinking, but it ain’t the drinking, it’s the gout.”
Knowing that he wasn’t going anywhere with Mark on his car and he wouldn’t feel right just leaving him in the parking lot, he started to guide him back to his place. Except he ended up carrying his dead weight back to his apartment, and he didn’t realize that Mark lives on the second floor.
That is perhaps an extreme case. I don’t know that he felt any better after he helped out. Though, Mark thinks the world of him. Hopefully, you won’t get shanghaied into carrying a 200 lb man to his home, but there are plenty of opportunities to help people out. Most don’t even take that long, and you’ll get that great feeling that comes from knowing you really helped someone.
There was a Friends’ episode, where Joey claimed that there are no unselfish acts, because, in so doing, you end up feeling really good. He was right. It’s a win/win situation.