Sometimes, we give because everybody gives. Sometimes we help because everyone around us seems to be watching us, expecting us to. I know how it feels like to give when people ask something from me. Of course I am not capable to say yes all the time, but it feels good to help other people and make them happy.
There is one thing that gives genuine happiness to me though. I’ve done it before and it’s something that feels way better than giving any physical gift. It is the happiness that we give through our own initiatives. The happiness we give without being asked. The happiness we share without expecting in return.
My mentor once told me that to have real happiness, the thought should come from the heart, be made by the heart, and nurtured by the heart. It is only when we decide wholeheartedly to share happiness- with no one forcing us to do it- that we also feel the same sense of joy.
I used to work in the service industry before. Being in the service industry taught me a lot about humility. We were taught to say “Good morning!’ or “Welcome, sir!” or “Thank you for coming” even if the person we were talking to didn’t seem to care. We were taught to serve customers and make them happy without asking for anything in return.
Once in a while, I would encounter individuals who would say “Thank you” to me and every time someone did, it felt so good. Just that one simple gesture had the power to automatically eliminate all my negative emotions and transform my day. It brought me happiness and it also inspired me to do better at my job. That’s why I always try to say these two simple words to each person I encounter and to commend others when I can.
On a regular day during Christmas last year, I went to the mall to shop. Amidst all the SALE signs and all the promos that surrounded me, I found myself unexpectedly, secretly, crying after giving a commendation to a lady cleaning the mall’s restroom. It was Christmas and she was working while everybody was enjoying the day. All I told her was “Ate, napakasipag ninyo. Kahit Christmas nandito kayo.” She looked at me, surprised, and gave me a deep smile. I can’t explain, but it was overwhelming. The smile she gave was enough to make my heart burst with joy.
I also remember the time when my friend and I had dinner out and we decided to give twice the amount of our total bill as our tip. It was a little heavy for me since I was still a college student at that time and I earned my spare money from my part time job. But the heavy feeling disappeared as soon as we saw the reaction of the waitress.
These instances brought genuine happiness to me. I don’t know why we receive happiness after giving it to others, but maybe that’s just how it works. That somehow, after doing something good, we realize that we can also be good people. That even if we have unconsciously hurt others in the past, there are still these acts of kindness and joy that can come from within us.
I think that happiness is a give and take relationship. When we give, we also receive and when we receive, we also give. If this is going to be a cycle that applies to each and every one of us, I wonder how many people will be happy to live their lives.