helpfulness 2  

No one is useless in this world
who lightens the burden
of it to anyone else.

Charles Dickens


As to the kindness you mention, I wish I could have been of more service to you than I have been, but if I had, the only thanks that I should desire are that you would always be ready to serve any other person that may need your assistance, and so let good offices go around, for humankind are all of a family.  As for my own part, when I am employed in serving others I do not look upon myself as conferring favors but paying debts.

Benjamin Franklin


Down in their hearts, wise people know this truth:  the only way to help yourself is to help others.

Elbert Hubbard


The ego is often deeply involved in the desire to help others.  If you do not want your ego to be involved in this way, do not be available for others unless you really want to be available.  Do not feel that you should be available.  Don't sacrifice yourself in any way.  Don't go against your true feelings.  Don't carry the cross for anyone else.  Make sure that there's no sense that helping others makes you a better person or that it will gain you easy access into Heaven.  Don't be a martyr.

Leonard Jacobson


The greatest comfort of my old age, and that which gives me the highest satisfaction, is the pleasing remembrance of the many benefits and friendly offices I have done to others.



A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and
outer life depend on the labors of other people, living and dead,
and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same
measure as I have received and am still receiving.

Albert Einstein


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Let us make one point:  that we meet each other with a smile,
when it is difficult to smile. . . . Smile at each other,
make time for each other in your family.

Mother Teresa


Helping others, that's the main thing.  The only way for us
to help ourselves is to help others and to listen to each other's stories.

Eli Wiesel


The only ones among you who will be really happy
are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer

Most arts require long study and application; but the most useful
of all, that of pleasing, only the desire.

Lord Chesterfield

Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me
best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower
where I thought a flower would grow.

Abraham Lincoln


When I pray, I never pray for myself, always for others, or else I
hold a silly, naive, or deadly serious dialogue with what is deepest
inside me, which for the sake of convenience I call God.  Praying
to God for something for yourself strikes me as being too childish
for words.  To pray for another's well-being is something I find childish
as well; one should only pray that another should have enough strength to
shoulder his burden.  If you do that, you lend him some of your own strength.

Etty Hillesum


helpfulness 2

They might not need me; but they might.
I'll let my head be just in sight;
A smile as small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity.

Emily Dickinson


When one has reverence for life, one will never do anything
to harm, hinder, or destroy life. Instead one bends every
effort to help life to fulfill its highest destiny. One strives to
maintain, enhance, and assist life to make the most of itself.

Wilferd A. Peterson


Open your eyes and look for a human being, or some work devoted
to human welfare, which needs from someone a little time or friendliness,
a little sympathy, or sociability, or labor.  There may be a solitary or an
embittered fellow person, an invalid, or an inefficient person to whom
you can be something.  Perhaps it is an old person or a child.  Or some
good work needs volunteers who can offer a free evening, or run errands.
Who can enumerate the many ways in which that costly piece of working
capital, a human being, can be employed?  More of us is wanted
everywhere!  Search, then, for some investment for your humanity, and
do not be frightened away if you have to wait, or to be taken on trial.
And be prepared for disappointments.  But in any case, do not be without
some secondary work in which you can give yourself as a human to other
humans.  It is marked out for you, if you only truly will to have it.

Albert Schweitzer


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The greatest happiness in the world is to make others happy.

Luther Burbank


A helping word to one in trouble is often like a switch on a railroad
track . . . an inch between wreck and smooth, rolling prosperity.

Henry Ward Beecher


The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks
for help when he or she needs it, whether one's
got an abscess on one's knee, or in one's soul.

Rona Barrett


We not only need to be willing to give, but
also to be open to receiving from others.

On Hope


To feel sorry for the needy is not the mark of a Christian--to help them is.

Frank A. Clark


You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned
your money, unless you have done something for someone
who will never be able to repay you.

Ruth Smeltzer


In my career, I have learned that giving of your services for free
gives you a good return on your investment, not just financially but morally.
It supplements my personal integrity.

Stevie Wonder

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life
that you cannot sincerely try to help another
without helping yourself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


By helping yourself, you are helping humankind.
By helping humankind, you are helping yourself.
That's the law of all spiritual progress.

Christopher Isherwood


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Long-range studies imply that doing something with other people,
especially something for them, is the most powerful
of all stimuli to longevity and health.

Jon Poppy

You will find, as you look back upon your life,
that the moments that stand out are the moments
when you have done things for others.

Henry Drummond


We who lived in concentration camps can remember the people who
walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece
of bread.  They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient
proof that everything can be taken away from a person but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given
set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Viktor Frankl

helpfulness 2

Small Beginnings
Charles Mackay

A traveler on the dusty road strewed acorns on the lea;
And one took root and sprouted up, and grew into a tree.
Love sought its shade, at evening time, to breathe its early vows;
And age was pleased, in heats of noon, to bask beneath its boughs;
The dormouse loved its dangling twigs, the birds sweet music bore;
It stood a glory in its place, a blessing evermore.

A little spring had lost its way amid the grass and fern,
A passing stranger scooped a well where weary folk might turn;
He walled it in, and hung with care a ladle at the brink;
He thought not of the deed he did, but judged that all might drink.
He paused again, and lo! the well, by summer never dried,
Had cooled ten thousand parching tongues and saved a life beside.

A dreamer dropped a random thought; ‘twas old, and yet 'twas new;
A simple fancy of the brain, but strong in being true.
It shone upon a genial mind, and, lo! its light became
A lamp of life, a beacon ray, a monitory flame;
The thought was small, its issue great; a watch-fire on the hill;
It shed its radiance far adown, and cheers the valley still.

A nameless man, amid a crowd that thronged the daily mart,
Let fall a word of Hope and Love, unstudied from the heart;
A whisper on the tumult thrown, a transitory breath—
It raised a brother from the dust, it saved a soul from death.
O germ! O fount! O word of love!  O thought at random cast!
Ye were but little at the first, but mighty at the last.


For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
 For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
 For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
 For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
 For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
 People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived,
reclaimed, and redeemed.  Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
 As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one
for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

Sam Levenson

The best cure for worry, depression, melancholy, brooding,
is to go deliberately forth and try to lift with one's
sympathy the gloom of somebody else.

Arnold Bennett


If you can help anybody even a little, be glad; up the steps of usefulness
and kindness, God will lead you on to happiness and friendship.

Maltbie D. Babcock


I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said "yes,"
when all it meant was extra work for you and was
seemingly helpful only to somebody else.

Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers

There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control.  We
cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot
prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry,
the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.

Jan Schakowsky

How to Be Truly Helpful

What if you sincerely care about someone who is struggling and you wish to help that person?  Perhaps someone close to you has a drinking problem or other addiction; or is working to the point of illness; or is depressed or suicidal; or is doing something illegal that could get him in trouble; or is hurting other people?  Your desire to change that person does not spring from selfish motives, for you genuinely value that person’s happiness and you want them to choose better.  According to Lao Tse’s teaching of nondoing, are you supposed to just do nothing, stand by, and watch this person ruin their life?

Not at all.  There is a way to help without imposing your will.  Surrendering to the Great Way means allowing it to work through you, as well as around you.  The Tao is doing the work, not you.  If you feel moved to offer a listening ear, guidance, money, a home, gift, job, book, seminar, teacher, or any other form of support, please do so.  Give what you can where you can, with a kind and generous heart.  But do not be attached to the recipient changing because of your input.  What the receiver does with your service is up to him or her.

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy


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When Walker first steps onto the road, he has no thoughts, no history, no memories, and no clothes. As he travels and meets people and learns from them, he comes to know more about life, living, and becoming the person he's meant to be. Walker is a parable for all of us who wonder what might be the purpose of life, why bad things happen with almost as much regularity as good things, and how we can learn from the bad examples and experiences in our lives as much as we can learn from the good things. Tom Walsh's parable is a story of the ages, a timeless exploration of ideas and thoughts that all of us wonder about, a sincere and heartfelt portrait of a man who has no past and no future, but who learns to make the most of each precious present moment as it comes.