It has been gratifying to hear from many of you who have been able to use the concepts of Positive Psychology and Goal-Achieving Psychotherapy to achieve a more positive self-image and to use your increased confidence to accomplish things that had previously been unfulfilled dreams.
Once you have established yourself as a priority and have developed goals to work toward achieving, it is time to assess whether you are including others in your plan for personal growth. To some of you, this may seem like a strange topic to raise -because you’ve spent too much time sacrificing yourselves for others who were unappreciative and negative toward you.
There is a difference, however, between doing something out of guilt or obligation without receiving reciprocal kindness and doing something because you feel so good about yourself that you want to share your time or your money or your friendship. Many people have learned that doing good makes you feel good at least at two levels: it creates an inner glow that combines well with the positive feelings that come with achieving other personal goals; and people who are perceived as being helpful get a lot of positive feedback from others.
Good things tend to happen to genuinely nice people.
Think about your situation and where you can spread positive feelings to others. You might want to give your attention to just one person who can benefit from an occasional visit or a bit of encouragement. Maybe there is a group whose efforts you can support by just getting up a little earlier or spending a little more energy than usual (think of the large number of people who get involved in walk-a-thons and do so with any personal agenda rather than doing good). While giving to a charity may sometimes be a passive way of helping, it is a necessary way.
No matter how many ways you choose to help and no matter how many people you help, sincerely helping others will make you feel good. Make it one of your goals!
Ron Kaiser, Ph.D.
March 10, 2012