Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
…That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
– from The Prayer of St. Francis
Perhaps the surest way to find happiness and joy for yourself is to devote your energies toward making someone else happy. If you make an effort to search for joy you will find it elusive, largely because you will become engaged in the search itself. Your life will be about striving. However, if you try to bring happiness to someone else then joy will come to you.
How To Be Happy
You come into this life with nothing and you leave with nothing. The only thing you can do with your life is give it away. This is the true essence of feeling purposeful. This is the way to have joy in the face of sadness. You experience joy when you attempt to bring it to others. This is what Saint Francis understood to be the goal of life.
The entire second part of the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi is a testament to the truth that we find joy by giving it away. And in order to give it away, we must possess it ourselves.
…grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
I have found that most of the times that I am engrossed in sadness due to a problem it is because of something that someone else has said or done, or failed to do. So this is the “problem.” I am sad because of the actions or inactions of others. Now, of course, this is an illusion; something that I have created in my thoughts. It is in my mind that I am experiencing the “problem.” So, what is the solution? It is always so simple that I often conk myself on the head for not realizing sooner.
Would You Rather Be Right or Be Happy?
The solution is to align with Spirit and attempt to bring some joy to someone else. When engaged in helping others, my sadness disappears instantly. I send joy to the people whom I perceive to be the source of my sadness. That seems difficult. After all, my ego reminds me, they are wrong and I am right. And, of course, my ego would much rather be right than happy.
But I tame my ego, and change the thoughts I have of being wronged to thoughts of joy for those who I perceived have annoyed me. Instantly and permanently my sadness dissolves like magic. By sending joyful loving thoughts to others, particularly to those whom I have perceived to be the source of my sadness, I end the problem, which only existed in my mind to begin with.
“You come into this life with nothing and you leave with nothing. The only thing you can do with your life is give it away. This is the true essence of feeling purposeful.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
Find Joy By Giving it Away
As you get better at finding joy by giving it away you will find that another shift takes place. First you were working with your thoughts only, which is where you experience sadness. As you transform those thoughts of sadness into joy, your emotions will follow. You will experience a shift in your sense of physical well-being and begin to feel better. You will feel lighter, more comfortable, and healthier. Your feelings of despair, anger and depression will begin to dissolve, and then your behavior will change to follow the path of joy. You will reach out to those who have “wronged you” with forgiveness and extend a helping hand to those who used to be classified as your enemies.
From thoughts to feelings to behaviors, your entire life shifts away from problems when you find your purpose by giving joy away.
Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York.