April 22    

Today's quotation:

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Today's Meditation:

I give a lot of thought to the things that I need to do today.  I put a lot of thought into what I'm going to wear and to buy and how I'm going to spend my vacations.  I give a lot of thought to ways that I can increase my income and make ends meet, and to what I'm going to do on my next day off from work.

I don't give a lot of thought to how I can make others happy.  I give some thought to it, and these days I give more thought to it than I used to, but I honestly give more thought to our financial situation than I give to other people's happiness.  And I don't do that because I'm obsessed with or preoccupied by finances, but simply because they demand much of my attention if I'm not able to keep them straight.

What Eleanor is asking me to do, I think, is to put more of my focus on other people's happiness-- and when I do, I'll experience more joy myself.  Because even though my finances are important, keeping up on them does not give me joy-- a sense of relief when bills are paid, perhaps, but not joy.

I sat down today to prioritize some tasks that I have to take care of, and I spent 45 minutes or so thinking of the tasks and then planning how to approach them.  What if I had spent that 45 minutes planning ways that I could bring joy to the lives of others, without it ever being discovered who did so?  A nice card for a good friend or a co-worker?  A single simple flower for someone as a pick-me-up?  How about treating someone to ice cream?  There are many simple ways to bring joy to the lives of others, yet I don't often spend a lot of time thinking about them, and I spend even less time putting such thoughts into action.  And if Eleanor's right, then I'm cheating myself by not bringing joy to others.  That's a pretty high cost, and not one I'm sure I want to keep paying. . . .

Questions to consider:

In what kinds of ways do you bring joy to the lives of others?

Can you think of a time when you brought joy to someone else's life, even if in a very small way?  How did it make you feel?

Why do we not spend more time bringing joy to others?

For further thought:

Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself.  in giving it, you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible.

Norman Vincent Peale

more thoughts and ideas on giving



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