The most popular course at Yale’s law school is called “Psychology and the Good Life.” It’s about living a happier life. So, I would like to conduct a social experiment and post a series of essays about living a happier life.
Creating a community where people are happy is the first step to living in a good place. If Boyle Street might not be rich monetarily, then we can work towards being wealthy in good mental health. The place to start is by uplifting those around us. Many people are busy trying to bolster their own egos that they do it at the expense of others. First and foremost: step out of your own will to feel good and focus on the feelings of others. It’s understood that when people are insecure or in pain that they tend to focus on themselves and on puffing up their own image, quite often to the detriment of others. This doesn’t serve to make anyone happier. Being content with your own image doesn’t make for a happier life if it’s achieved at the expense of other people.
I suggest that we all look for a positive trait in other people that we can compliment them on. Just give another person a heartfelt compliment every day. Whether directed towards a friend or a stranger, this habit forces us to look for good traits in others. It puts our focus on other people and forces us to seek out the good in them. You never know what what influence your compliment can have on a person. It might lift someone out of a dark state of mind. A well-placed compliment might cause a person to be more positive in their relationships with people in their lives and have a snowball effect.
To bolster someone else’s self-esteem is a gift that has unknown benefits. You might never know the ripple effect your kind words had, but you can be sure that you did a good deed at no cost to yourself. So, let’s start this social experiment by saying one kind thing to another person every day and know that, if nothing else, you have uplifted your own heart.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.