From Dr. Holstein:
I received an e-mail last week thanking me for my daily
Blessings. The woman wrote they made such a difference in her
life, and actually helped her to start her day. I was thrilled to get
this feedback, yet like most people who attempt to do good in the world, I
was a little surprised. Although I do put my heart and soul and 'mind'
power into the composition of my blessings to others, it is hard for me to
recognize that they might actually help someone. This is part of the
human condition. As a psychologist I recognize that we have trouble
putting a value on what we offer to the world. Yet, most of us are
quick to give value or to devalue what others offer! How strange, that
our minds can not fully appreciate what we ourselves do for others.
Yet, that is the way it is. Consequently, we must each struggle to not
devalue our own efforts and to constantly do what we can for others and of
Hopefully, we will get the reinforcement that we need-as
I did by getting that e-mail.
Here is what Dr. Lee L. Jampolsky, author of Smile
for No Good Reason (Hampton Roads,2003) had to say: "Humans
are inherently outcome-focused, so when a change isn't noticeable right
away, we feel badly that we weren't able to do more.....And that's enough to
keep us from even trying."
I found his quote in First for Women on the go,
in the April 11, 2005 edition. He reassures us, that as soon
as you say a warm 'hello' to a frazzled salesperson, your brain releases
feel-good chemicals, called endorphins. "The brain gets 'hooked'
on the pleasurable sensation of these chemicals, so doing one good deed will
make you want to do another, boosting your happiness even more."
I usually don't talk in physiologic terms but it is
interesting to think that way. However, I believe that it
takes the brain a long time to get 'hooked.' Certainly practice is in
order. I wish it weren't so, but sometimes we need to start all
over again, as if we are doing the first kind gesture or big smile, we have
ever done in our lives. And then sometimes we have to wait, not
feeling an instant high. Will we feel pleasure this time? Or
next? Hard to say, but I can say the good feelings will happen
and will happen more and more consistently, the more we bother to practice
our happiness skills!
I hope you have enjoyed this little update on throwing
our good deeds, such as a smile, into the universe and how we are
affected by feedback or the lack of it, as we do so. In summary, trust
that your good deed is having a positive effect and keep entering your good
deeds into your bank account of positive deeds in the world bank. I
promise you, you will receive rewards and interest, at least periodically,
as I did when I received the uplifting e-mail about my blessings.