Caring for others increases compassionate joy

Self is so important in order to be happy. It seems logical since everyone including us wants to be happy. Therefore, we have to take care of ourselves first before we can be happy. Is this true?

This is true to some extent. We need some basic necessities in order to be comfortable, such as food, shelter and medicine, without which we can be miserable. If one focuses on oneself with the exclusion of others we interact with, self-centredness can result. Some examples of self-centredness include: a) I am here to earn as much as the next person. b) I want to behave in any way I want. c) My interest is above all others. Self-centredness excludes others in our relationships with people.

When we focus on ourselves, are we truly happy? Are there other ways for us to gain happiness?

Showing and acting out with compassion gives immense joy to oneself. Each time when I completed a volunteering session at Bright Vision Hospital, I came off with internal happiness in my heart. Being able to help out in the morning exercises for these patients allows me to show and act out with compassion. This is the joy of volunteering.

I read that volunteerism declined from 32.3% in 2012 to 17.8% in 2014. This is a pity since doing charity work lifts one’s happiness and moving us from self-centredness to compassionate action.

If one wants to help out in volunteering, he/she can access www.nvpc.org.sg to find out places/institutions where volunteers are required. Information is readily available. It therefore depends on individual to take the first step.

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