*The views presented are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the United States Department of Defense or the United States Navy.
During this holiday season, let’s take a moment to think about the value of sharing love to those in need and showing gratitude to those who have helped us. The most valuable act of sharing love is the act of helping others. While such feelings of love and gratitude are ubiquitous during holiday seasons, it is important to maintain such feelings in our daily life – after all, they are what creates meaning for our lives.
I once heard a story about a wise old man on his deathbed. A young child asked him, “What is the meaning of life?” The old man paused to think for a long while before answering:
“Looking back on my life, I believe that I am here on earth to help other people make their lives better. What I have not yet figured out is why the other people are here.”
I hope this holiday season helps you to reaffirm or come to the conclusion that the meaning of life is to help others. In case you are not too sure of who you can help, I would advise you to think about the people around you and ask yourself how you can bring more value to their lives. If you believe your small help may not be enough to make a difference, please think again because your “limited resources” may be someone else’s treasure.
Here’s something to put into practice to ensure you’re sharing love and gratitude: How about writing a daily thank-you email, text or a social media message to someone you’re thankful for that day? It’s a great routine to cultivate gratitude, and you’d be surprised how far making others happy goes toward helping you to be happy as well.
If you are still skeptical, I encourage you to take a trip to some of the poorest countries in the world or watch a few YouTube videos about them. No matter how you look at it, somewhere in the world, some people are going through the worst time of their lives. In this holiday spirit, may the sense of your gratitude for being alive and living in a peaceful country guide you to find a way to help other people. You can run a race in a country like Haiti to help raise funds for an organization like DALH or others that help raise awareness of issues like children’s literacy. In places like Haiti, some kids are not able to go to school because their parents cannot afford the $30 needed for a year of tuition.
Who knows? By helping to improve the lives of these kids in Haiti or somewhere else in the world, you might help them find their own life’s meaning. From there, their new sense of purpose in life may also one day lead them to realize that they are here in this world to help others, and this new meaning may be their impetus to seek to create more value for those around them. Collectively, we may end up making the world a little better in the process – not just for this holiday season, but daily for years to come.