By: Steve Gainey, MA, LLP, ADS, CAADC, EAC Clinical Specialist –
Thousands of Candles can be Lighted from a Single Candle, and the Life of the Candle will Not be Shortened. Happiness, Wisdom and Love Never Decrease by Being Shared.
The quote above is displayed in my office. I often look at it and the words deeply resonate with me and find the latter part exceptionally profound – Happiness, Wisdom and Love Never Decrease by Being Shared. I like to also include Kindness in that statement. In reflecting on these words, I’d like to share how each one impacts me personally.
HAPPINESS (HAPPY) – Dr. Martin Seligman, a pioneer of Positive Psychology defines it as: pleasure and gratification; embodiment of strength and virtues; meaning of purpose. Feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment.
Personally, I find happiness when I am walking my dogs, cooking, having friends and family over to my house, reading philosophy, learning and being a therapist.
WISDOM – Merriam-Webster’s definition is:
- ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: INSIGHT
- good sense: JUDGMENT
- generally accepted belief
- accumulated philosophical or scientific learning: KNOWLEDGE
When I think about this word, I think about a phrase my Father told me when I was young. He said, “You can lie to other people and get in trouble, but when you lie to yourself about yourself, you are in serious trouble.”
This definition further impacts me as I recall events when I was a child. If we saw someone homeless, in a wheelchair, blind, drunk in the street, or ill, my Father would say “That could be you; it’s just not at this moment.”
LOVE – While this word can be defined in many ways, dictionary.com defines it as: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
This word impacts me through the love of my close friendships and feelings of connection. Moreover, I often find love in my travels around the world and being immersed in other cultures.
KINDNESS (KIND) – Defined by The Cambridge Dictionary as: generous, helpful, and thinking about other people’s feelings.
I find that kindness, for me, also includes being caring, compassionate and unconditionally kind.
For example, when I was young, my mother would take my siblings and me to an outdoor school pool. One time, another mother came with her mentally and physically disabled son. As she was putting him in the water, most of the kids swimming in the pool seemed upset and began getting out of the pool. My mother looked at us with the look of, “don’t you dare get out of the pool because of him.”
Some other examples of when I feel kindness are when someone sends me a card out of the blue or when I feel someone is really listening to me. Personally, I’ve shown kindness to others by paying for a stranger’s co-pay at the pharmacy or by genuinely thanking someone for their help or advice.
Are there moments when I’m not “Happy?” Of course. But, even if I’m not happy, I can give and receive Wisdom, Love, and Kindness.
Think about how each of these words impacts you. Is there one that really resonates with you? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Please post your experience below.