Wednesday, November 08, 2006

pay it forward

Sometimes I get to feeling a bit maudlin. Often there is no clear reason for this. It may be merely that a friend has been a bit offhand with me. I may be worrying about a patient. Other times I absorb the mood of those around me - feeling unsettled and sad because a friend or colleague is unhappy. Sometimes the feeling I have is most like loneliness. I miss spending time with my friends - time that is just no longer available now that we have children.

When I get in a funk, I wallow for awhile. I soak up cuddles from my kids, and have to resist the urge to cling to them. I go over events in my mind, I think about everything that I dislike about myself. I fantasise about quitting work. I whine to Fatty and my friends. I wallow.

Inevitably, because this is just a crappy mood and not depression - (so no comments suggesting drugs or therapy, please!), I stop navel-gazing. I lift my gaze and see the real problems in the world. I try to think of what I can do for someone else, to make someone else's day easier, happier.

I'd love to say I do things for others because I am such a good person, but the truth is I try to make small gestures (make a cake, send a card, deliver dinner to a sick friend) because it gives me a sense of purpose, and makes me feel good. Of course I want to help out, but I'm also getting high on this sense of purpose - filled with joy at doing something for someone besides myself. I can highly recommend it as a cure for those transitory blues.

So today, instead of considering how I feel, I am going to consider how everyone else around me feels. I'm going to try to make a difference to someone else's day, no matter how small.

Yesterday, a close friend listened to me, empathised, and restrained from telling me I was a silly selfish cow. Now it's time to pay it forward.


Motherkitty said...

You have said it all. Sometimes we think that things happening to us could get no worse. When we look at the other fellow, we realize that there is always someone in worse straits than us. As you said, all we have to do is take a minute and think of the other guy and do something, even something small, and it will be appreciated. It will make a difference. You will feel better and they will feel better.

Sometimes all it takes is a kind word, a hand on the shoulder, a hug, a plate of cookies, or a phone call to make all the difference in the world. Pay it forward.

Anonymous said...

Have a great day and take care.

Heather said...

You say the good things you do are not because you are a good person, but only a good person would get such a good feeling from helping others.

I know you to be a good person.

I also know everyone is allowed to whine now and then. It is a God-given right!


Remiman said...

Golly, I never tire of reading your wisdom!

Also I envy your candid revelations.
You don't need medication..You are medication..You truly possess the key for happiness.

shellyC said...

I think you could give this advice out to some patients too. Everyone would feel more alive if they were helping others. I know I do and I will get around to doing this next week - this week I don't have time to wallow!!

susan said...

Physician heal thyself - I think you just did.

I am not one to quote biblical phrases (where is John Cowart?) but this one just popped into my head.

It sounds like you have already worked out your problems, maybe just by writing them down in this journal.

Have a great day!

BTW - loved the movie (Pay it Forward)

Kerri said...

Yes, it was a good movie!
Great philosophy Jelly. Someone just said that to Chris and me on the weekend (pay it forward). Chris's van had a problem and we needed a ride to the craft show while it was being fixed on the Saturday morning. Chris wanted to do something in return and that's what the woman said (PIF).
Yes, it definitely makes us feel better to think of another's needs and do something nice for someone.

Alice said...

You do something nice for all of us bloggers every time you post your words of wisdom and humour. Enjoy each and every day, Jelly.

Sharon said...

You really have said it all. I do the same thing when I'm down. I not only wallow, I stay in it until my fingers wrinkle up. :)

Helping someone else always helps me too...

I think you are a light in this world. I am glad that your blog is out there for the rest of us to absorb and enjoy!

meggie said...

Alice & Sharon said it all!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I don't think anyone could keep up a fascade of feeling on top of the world all the time and the kind gesture of paying it forward helps to bring us out of our mood because the focus is off ourselves and we are focused on making someone else smile and in turn it makes us happy.

I'm glad you found your solution and opened my eyes today.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

just perfect...

Alipurr said...

Mom's right. Listen to motherkitty:)

I think God designed us to feel good and feel better when we are giving and thinking of others. I think that is one of the ways He made us like Himself.

This is a really good post. I could really relate, and it reminded me of some of the inner dialogues I have, and the process I go through to get up and stop thinking of just myself.

Anonymous said...

Jelly, you always hit the nail on the head with your posts. You say what we all feel. It is great that you can pour your heart out with such eloquence and ease. You pay it forward to all of us whenever you write. Please don't ever stop!

Franny said...

Ok, you wanna me to complain? I can SO do that!

I just got a huge promotion that starts next week but now I have been warned by mgmt that its gonna be stressful and so I don't know if I can handle it, and there's office politics, and I am SO worried about the childcare and being too tired all the time and missing the kids when the job starts. To top it all off, my hubby and I haven't really been 'connecting' and money is super-tight (hence trying for the promotion) and I am behind in all of my classes and work projects.

There. Thanks babe.