Wanting others to be happy does not cost anything and says a lot about us. Even more, this type of personal approach and authentic desire reverts to our well-being. However, from time to time we meet those people who think that ‘I want you to be happy, of course, but no more than I am’. They are profiles that contradict the principle of human interconnection.
Most of us have had a similar experience. One where we have approached someone we thought was significant to give him good news, to share with him or her something good that had happened to us. Instantly, we perceive tension, a certain falsehood or that discomfort that suddenly reveals a failure in the connection; a dissonance in emotions and reciprocity.
Feeling discomfort at the happiness of others reveals something deeper than the shadow of envy. Sometimes, it’s a blow to self-esteem. It is also to become aware that others manage to overcome themselves and achieve goals while they are still surrounded by their insecurities. It is not easy to tolerate the joy of others when in their minds there is constant frustration.
To desire the welfare of others and celebrate the triumphs of others is an exercise in well-being. It has nothing to do with ethical, moral, religious or spiritual principles. Actually, behind this expressed desire there is a psychology base as valid as it is interesting that scientific studies explain us. Let’s see it
“Love is the condition in which another person’s happiness is essential for you.”
-Robert A. Heinlein-
Altruism that emerges from a tranquil heart
Just a few weeks ago, Iowa State University conducted a study as interesting as it was curious. Dr. Douglas A. Gentile and his team, the psychology department, selected a group of people who had been diagnosed with stress and anxiety. They trained them for several days in a fairly simple technique that turned out to have good results.
It was simply a matter of walking every day between 15 and 20 minutes.
While doing so, they performed what is known as the kinhin technique, which consists of a meditation exercise while the person walks, runs or carries out some type of physical practice.
Also, while these patients were on this walk, the psychologists asked them to try to experience kindness, calmness and well-being.
For that, they were simply asked to wish happiness to all those people they crossed. Thus, the mere fact of projecting an express desire for well-being and positivity in others, in turn, reverted to their own well-being. The mind reduced the burden of worries and obsessive thoughts. The inner calm and the fact of focusing on a feeling of affection, generated comfort and satisfaction.
Sanitize thoughts through the focus of kindness
Dr. Douglas Gentile checked three things with this experiment. The first, that the level of anxiety and stress was reduced significantly. And that this happened was not just for the simple physical exercise. It was basically by changing the internal dialogue of the person and above all, their emotional focus. It was going from internal negativity to stimulating that mental effort to project kindness.
To want others to be happy, regardless of the fact that those who crossed before them were complete strangers, increased their empathy and feelings of social connection. Suddenly, they focused more on the faces of others, opened their eyes to the outside and especially to the human factor to connect with him.
Woman with closed eyes outdoors to represent the benefit of wishing others to be happy
Wishing that others are happy frees us from unnecessary weights
In psychology, we talk about the boomerang effect or principle of action to explain how some acts, words or thoughts generate some kind of consequence. Thus, something as elementary as being able to wish others to be happy always has an impact on ourselves.
There is an emotional reward and there is also a kind of catharsis. Let’s think about it; imagine, for example, that we have a very envious co-worker.
If we imitated their behavior, we would create a feedback where discomfort, negativism and confrontation would lead us to a state of stress quite uncomfortable. On the other hand, to wish him good, relaxes. Accepting that each one is what he is and wishing him to be as happy as he can within his possibilities, takes away weights, sanitizes the mind and avoids useless hostilities.
Therefore, that famous saying “do good without looking at who,” can also be rephrased as “want happiness without looking at who.” Because the simple fact of projecting positive thoughts improves our brain chemistry, changes the internal dialogue and forces us to make that mental effort with which to open them a little more to others. Let’s put into practice this simple advice of health and human connection.
“Seek the well-being of as many as you can, and often you will find faces that give you joy.”