• No one should be alone in this. We can help.
If you - or someone you know - are having thoughts about suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller's location. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.                                                                            If you - or someone you know - are having thoughts about suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller's location. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Advertisement

Main Menu
Sponsored Links
Donate to DF
Latest Forum Topics
Search

Find a Therapist
Powered by Good Therapy
Lindsay  Lindsay

You Have To Be Happy Before You Make Someone Else Happy

5.19.2011


I repeat this phrase a lot to my friends: you have to be happy before you make someone else happy. So often I hear of people unsuccessfully trying to make someone else happy. They give and give and give, but nothing seems to work. They actually believe that the more they sacrifice, the more it shows they care, even though it couldn’t be further from the truth.

You can give all you want, but you can’t give something that you don’t already have. If you haven’t achieved happiness for yourself, then how could you possibly help someone else achieve their happiness? It’s impossible. You may be able to provide some short-term pleasure, but you can’t teach someone something that you have no understanding of.

When it comes to first achieving happiness for yourself, I’m reminded of the lecture they often give on airplanes about oxygen masks. They always tell you that in times of emergency you should put your oxygen mask on first, then help your neighbors put on their masks. The reasoning is simple: if you don’t put on your oxygen mask first, you suffer a greater likelihood of dying; and you can’t help anyone once you’re dead.

In the same way, you can’t make someone happy if you’re depressed. You have to take care of yourself first before taking care of others. Anything else is a recipe for disaster for the both of you. Some may even try to do charitable things with the expectation that it will automatically make them and the other person happy. But, while doing good things for people can increase your own well-being, if you don’t do it from the right place – with the right intentions – then you won’t get the long-term gratification. Especially if you are helping someone just for your own sake (because you expect it will make you happy), then the warmness of the act is lost, and your pleasure from doing the act will be minimal at best. Helping others feels best when you genuinely want to help others.

Now let’s say you have already achieved happiness. Now you are in a much better position to help someone else achieve their own happiness. When you walk into a room and light it up with joy, other people catch that like an infection. When you share your stories and advice with enthusiasm, people will begin to perk up their ears and actually listen to you. And when people see you standing up for your beliefs and achieving your goals and values, they are more motivated to do the same for themselves. You become a role model.


 








Still, nothing is guaranteed. You can’t change anyone without their permission. And some people just aren’t willing to permit themselves to be happy no matter what. Like I described in my post

The Desire To Change People: we can try to talk with someone, reason with them, encourage them, or lead by example, but if someone isn’t open to learning something new, they won’t learn it. People have their own sense of free will, so we can’t always change them to think and feel how we want them to think and feel. That’s an important limitation to acknowledge (even if we don’t know exactly where the line is drawn). Of course, I don’t want to discourage you from helping others, but I want you to know that there is a point where it may be best to cut your losses and walk away. Some people can be emotional leeches, they depend on your pity in order to manipulate you. It’s sad, but some people don’t want to be happy simply because they don’t want to take action or take responsibility. They want someone else to do all the work for them, but that too is impossible.




theemotionmachine.com

This Month In Pictures
Sept.jpg
Members Online
Follow Us On Twitter
Like Us On Facebook
Medical News
  • Older adults who volunteer are more likely to be happier and healthier
    Older adults who stay active by volunteering are getting more out of it than just an altruistic feeling - they are receiving a health boost!
    Psychology / Psychiatry News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 22:00
  • Deep and meaningful relationships can help you thrive
    In brief: The definition of thriving involves 5 components of well-being Relationships provide 2 types of support: source of strength (SOS) support, and relational catalyst (RC) support...
    Psychology / Psychiatry News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 22:00
  • Is cell phone addiction on the horizon?
    A study by researchers from Baylor University in Texas finds that college students spend around 9 hours a day on their cell phones, and 60% say they are becoming addicted to them.
    Anxiety / Stress News From Medical News Today
    Sunday, 31 August 2014 21:00
  • Antidepressants show potential for postoperative pain
    After a systematic review of clinical trials based on administering antidepressants for acute and chronic post-surgical pain, researchers have concluded that more trials are needed to determine...
    Depression News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 22:00
  • Survivors of childhood burns at increased risk of mental illness
    Adults who have been hospitalized for a burn as a child experience higher than usual rates of depression and suicidal thoughts, according to new research at the University of Adelaide.
    Mental Health News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 22:00
  • Changes in ADNP gene may be among the most common causes of autism
    A new study from Bradley Hospital has identified a genetic change in a recently identified autism-associated gene, which may provide further insight into the causes of autism.
    Autism News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 21:00
  • Pilot study of socially-assistive robots that help children with autism to learn imitative behavior
    A team of researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering share results from a pilot study on the effects of using humanoid robots to help children with autism practice imitation behavior in...
    Autism News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 21:00
  • Regular family meals may reduce effects of cyberbullying in adolescents
    A new study from McGill University in Canada finds adolescents who have regular family meals are less likely to experience problems associated with cyberbullying.
    Mental Health News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 21:00
  • Serotonin deficiency as cause of depression - is it a myth?
    The theory that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain has been popular since at least the late 1980s. However, a new study in mice casts doubt on its veracity.
    Psychology / Psychiatry News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 05:00
  • ADHD drugs 'do not stunt children's growth,' say AAP
    Despite concerns that stimulant medications to treat ADHD could stunt a child's growth, a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics says these drugs do not affect height.
    ADHD News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 05:00
  • Plants in offices make workers happier, more productive
    A long-term study of real-life situations finds introducing plants into otherwise lean work environments increases productivity by 15%, in line with studies carried out in labs.
    Psychology / Psychiatry News From Medical News Today
    Monday, 01 September 2014 00:00
  • Making new friends through expressions of gratitude
    Parents have long told their children to mind their Ps and Qs, and remember to say thank you. Now the evidence is in on why it matters.
    Psychology / Psychiatry News From Medical News Today
    Sunday, 31 August 2014 22:00
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Latest Articles
Andertoon
Daily Toon Click to enlarge
ANDERTOONS.COM PSYCHIATRY CARTOONSPsychiatry Cartoonsby Andertoons
Favourite Tweets by @DepressionForum
Depression Forums - A Depression & Mental Health Community Support Group
Copyright © 2014 The Depression Forums Incorporated - A Depression & Mental Health Social Community Support Group. All rights reserved.
The Depression Forums are intended to enable members to benefit from the experience of other members who have faced similar mental health issues by sharing their experiences.
* DF does NOT vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any posting or the qualifications of any person responding.
Use of the Forums is subject to our Terms Of Service (TOS) and forum guidelines which prohibit advertisements, solicitations or other commercial messages by members, or false, defamatory, abusive, vulgar, or harassing messages and may subject violators to be banned from the forums.
All postings reflect the views of the author but become the property of DepressionForums.org. Your personal information will never be shared with others.
If you have any questions on how it will be used, please see our our privacy policy.
Information supplied on Depression Forums should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for medical advice from a health professional or doctor.
* DF © is an acronym for DepressionForums.org