After 45 years as a GP, Dr Robert Favaloro ponders on what it takes to build a wonderful life. How happiness can be grown and tended like a good crop. It's all about following The Rules of Life.
Rule of Life number five
This rule is, 'We are here to give more than get'.
I never cease to be amazed how people want to help one another. I see the benefits of volunteering in others. I feel the benefits of volunteering myself, in my own life. So often volunteers describe how they completely forgot their own mental health issues when helping others.
One patient described how suicidal he felt when driving the previous day. He had undone his seat belt when parked at the lights. He then looked ahead at a large tree. His plan was formed. He then glanced to his side and saw a mother leaning to settle her small child. She gave a smile as she glanced in his direction - so naturally. As a result of this small favour he was unable to follow through with his plan. Unknowingly, in her giving that smile, she saved his life. He attended his therapist for help.
Study after study show how when people are given money with the choice to either spend it on themselves or to give it to another, they feel happier if they give to others.
Mother Teresa is so famous not for what she had but for what she gave. She always said that if she hadn't picked up the first dying person in the street she may have missed doing the great job she did. When the opportunity to help someone presents itself, we gain so much if we act on it immediately.
I was recently in an op shop in Goulburn and overheard two young men explaining how they had been taken off the train as they didn't have enough money for the fare. They and the staff were upset. I grabbed the opportunity to take them to the station and buy their tickets. We touched elbows and exchanged smiles. I felt elated and thankful for the opportunity that had come my way.
Adam Lindsay Gordon our famous poet put it well.
'Life is mostly froth and bubble Two things stand like stone; Kindness in another's trouble. Courage in your own'.
Rule of Life number six in two weeks.