I’ve been a member of the SGI-USA lay Buddhist organization for 44 years. The August discussion topic in the group is “Practicing for oneself and for others.” It’s an integral part of being a Bodhisattva—the stepping stone to Buddhahood. As it happens, an example taken from the Greater Good Magazine works well for the July WATWB topic.
“Making others happy is more meaningful for people than just socializing with them or doing something to improve our own happiness.
“When we aim to make others happier, we feel connected to them … which is important for us.”
– Milla Titova, lead researcher of the study “Happiness Comes From Trying to Make Others Feel Good, Rather Than Oneself.” (greatergood.berkeley.edu)
In the study, college students reported on their happiness and on their sense of autonomy, competence, and connection to others—all what researchers consider “basic psychological needs” for well-being. Then they were randomly tasked to do something to either make themselves happier, make another person happier, or socialize. (Assigning one group to socialize helped determine if seeking happiness for another had an effect above and beyond simply being in someone’s presence.)
Later that day, after doing their tasks, participants reported what they did, and then filled out their happiness and needs questionnaires again. Those who’d done something to make another person feel better were much happier themselves than participants in the other groups, and their greater happiness was tied to a stronger feeling of connection to that person.
Seems like the Greater Good site might be a good source for the WATWB!
7 thoughts on “July 2021 WATWB–Making Others Happy Makes You Happy”
Seems like you are right. And I like the idea of the Greater Good site! It should be a pleasure to give. 🙂
Everything in my life experiences has taught me that this philosophy is true. Not only do we feel good about helping others, but we get invested in their lives. I just had lunch this week with one of my former third graders (she has had such a hard life with no father and a mother who has wrestled with drugs for years). Her grandmother was her hero. I am fully connected with this young lady and I’m trying to convince her that community college offers a way out.
Very good, Pete. I like how you remain connected with former students. It’s a long time from third grade to adulthood!
Great post! From my personal experience I whole-heartedly agree. Making someone happy definitely makes me feel like I’ve made a difference. Thanks so much for sharing and for being a part of #WATWB! Wishing you a wonderful week!
Thanks, Belinda. Same wishes for you!
Lovely post John thanks! Something to remember at all times. The simplest action towards another means a great deal to them and to ourselves. (No #WATWB post from me this time round.)
Thanks, Susan. Glad you liked it. Hope all is well amidst the turmoil.