We Need to be Needed

27 Mar

The Dalai Lama recently co–authored an op-ed in the New York Times that I put aside for a bit.

And I reread it this week after speaking to someone about helping people who are homeless.

My friend suggested that, from her work as a marriage and family therapist, she feels that the homeless are hopeless. They have lost all faith in their own ability to be a productive member of our society. And they feel that others view them this way as well.

But this isn’t just about the homeless. According to the NY Times article, researchers found that the elderly who did not feel useful were almost three times as likely to die prematurely that their counterparts who had a purpose.

The evidence seems overwhelming.

As noted in the article. “Americans who prioritize doing good for others are almost twice as likely to say they are very happy about their lives. In Germany, people who seek to serve society are five times likelier to say they are very happy than those who do not view service as important. Selflessness and joy are intertwined. The more we are one with the rest of humanity, the better we feel.”

Everyone has a contribution to make. We all need to be needed.

It’s when he or she loses touch with that inner gift that feelings of hopelessness and anxiety prevail.

The Dalai Lama suggests that although the solution is personal (one by one, we can adapt the philosophy of giving and sharing), it is also global.

Our leaders, who embrace a compassionate society, will seek ways to feed this universal human hunger and provide ways to promote human dignity, inclusiveness and usefulness.




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