When I get stuck in my own head, I can get mesmerised by my own stuff.
At these times, I’ve often realised that I’m probably hungry/angry/lonely or tired and basically need some TLC. Once I’ve given myself that grace, then I’m often ready to be kind and considerate towards others.
Interestingly, helping others can help me break the chain I’ve sometimes experienced of feeling sorry for myself about something. 1
For example, after our accident in 2002 when Chris and I were knocked over by a car whilst walking across a pedestrian crossing, I needed to learn how to walk again after having my knee reconstructed. So, first I needed to heal, then, I needed the inspiration to get over feeling very sorry for myself and get on with my rehab. I found my mojo by participating in an event (cycling 2400km in 24 days on a tandem bicycle with a blind athlete) to raise funds for disabled athletes.
And guess what? I was the one most inspired! The process of helping others fueled my own umfsk big-time.
Sometimes, if we’re feeling stinky, then considering others can help shift our perspective to gratitude.
Is this familiar for you?
1In a recent study on altruistic behavior, “the results showed that helping others to regulate their emotions predicted better emotional and cognitive outcomes for those participants who were giving the help.” Another good reason to focus on what we can do for others.
“In Helping Others, You Help Yourself”
M. Pogosyan, Ph.D., (2018)