It is a common belief that you have to choose to either live your life for others, or for yourself. This is a really tough choice to grapple with, and most people find themselves struggling to balance helping and supporting other people alongside taking care of their own wants and needs. However, in truth, our needs and the needs of others overlap way more often than we think.
When you look at studies of human happiness, as I sometimes do when I search for happiness on the internet (come on, I can’t be the only one!), you’ll notice a striking pattern. Having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life is incredibly tied to well-being, physical, and emotional health. This sense of purpose and meaning most often comes from helping others, and studies on the relationship between money and happiness show that spending money on other people is actually more satisfying that spending money on yourself. This held true in studies about giving to charity – people feel good about giving, particularly if it’s in support of a friend or part of a purpose-driven social environment.
Now, this is not to say that there is no such thing as being too self-sacrificing – we are social animals, and harming ourselves is likely to hurt those around us as well as ourselves in ways we might not even expect. The point is that as much as we like to think of ourselves as fierce independent creatures, our happiness and the happiness of others is very deeply connected, and in a lot of ways, it is these connections that make us powerful.
I wanted to start this blog to give people practical tips on how to do things you can truly feel good about. As a huge nerd, I plan on researching different charities you can donate to and companies with ethical business practices you can support, as well as fluffier stuff like how to stand up against bullying and discrimination in your everyday life. I also want to join Bill Gates and other “Impatient Optimists,” and demonstrate that focusing on the largest problems threatening our world is not pessimistic – it’s optimistic because we believe we can do something to stop them!
This is not just a blog for the one percent – my goal is to provide simple ways that everyone can make an impact. I also don’t fancy myself the #1 expert on being a good person, so I am actively seeking experts to connect with on a wide range of topics. If you have a cool idea, an article you’d like to share, or if you fancy yourself an expert in a relevant field, please reach out to me here.