Being kind to yourself

During my life, I have known some wonderful people who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at helping someone in trouble.  These selfless individuals will drop whatever they are doing to assist others, regardless of the cost to themselves.

I often wonder at these amazing people, and what drives them to be so.  I wonder how they can be so accommodating and are they being kind to themselves when they seem to give so much of their time for others.  The answer is partly contained within the Buddhist psychology; that is that the giving to others makes us feel good.  When asked why he was always so kind to others, the Dalai Lama responded in his usual jovial manner “I do this for myself!”

We see this in particular at Christmas time, when we as parents give to our children.  The joy on their faces as they unwrap their presents makes our hearts swell with love and pride.  Joy is in the giving.  When we give honestly, not as duty, but because we want to, we unlock that part of ourselves.  We are in fact being kind to the recipient and also to ourselves.  As the old Swedish proverb goes, “Joy shared is joy doubled.”

So do not fear for those who give so much, their reward may seem intangible but it is boundless.  If only more people would explore these feelings, the world would be a much more peaceful and loving place.

Life is for living.


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