African woman smiling with flower garland
Live simply for the joy of living. Image by Autumn Goodman, public domain.

The joy of living


What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to save the world or its people?

It feels fantastic to have an impact on the world. To make people smile, uplift them, empower them, and create a better future for them. Some of you reading this might feel that you want to touch the lives of millions. And for others, it’s really about the select few in your life who you’d like to make happy.

But what would you be doing if I told you that nobody needs saving? If not a single person needs any help, what then? Sit with the thought. How do you feel? Do you feel panic because, well, what the heck do you aim for now? Do you feel relief because, wow, that was a lot of social pressure putting weight on your shoulders? Either way, the question remains: what do you do now?

My suggestion: find and relish the things that make you feel alive.

To live simply for the joy of living. Letting creativity flow, following your curiosity, and exploring deep connections with the world around you. Maybe you would like to organize a painter’s circle. Not because people need your help organizing it, but because you really enjoy painting with others. This is what it means to help others foremost for your own joy. Living for your own happiness. And that’s the best help you can give.

man dancing in city street
Find a new quality of happiness. Image by Andre Hunter, public domain.

By doing this, you’ve given yourself permission to turn completely inward. To look at yourself, first and foremost. Why does this matter? Because any time we want to help for the sake of improving the lives of others, instead of our own, we are acting from a place of pain. We see our own pain in others. We are trying to heal ourselves through others. That’s not entirely fair to them. And it is actually not the best we can do for them. It means that we bring our own baggage into team meetings, greatly increasing the chance of misunderstandings. It means that it can be incredibly hard to be open to these highly complex other beings across the table from us. Because instead, we mostly see the parts that line up with our own pain. And these constraints and filters curtail the impact of our help. And perhaps, that’s all OK. Life is messy. Making an impact is messy. Help is messy. But, and that’s important here, you can have control over the messiness.

Instead of focusing on life paths of pain, how about turning towards life paths of fascination and inner truth?

Through living life in alignment with these, we have the capacity to meet the world with curious eyes. With innocent question marks instead of answers. With patient anticipation instead of pressure to perform. Urgency falls away. Negativity dissolves. Breathing slows down. We find peace. A new quality of happiness. And then we are ready to create. We are able to create from pure joy. It’s infectious, in all the right ways. And from that, the power of our impact grows exponentially, completely naturally. All it takes is the somewhat paradoxical thought that nobody needs our help.

Damaris Kroeber is a futurist and freelance consultant interested in exploring a world where rapid technological and social changes go hand in hand with a new type of decision-making: deep authenticity. Furthermore, Damaris is the founder and organizer of the Female Entrepreneurs and Creatives Meetup, based in Leipzig, which provides a safe and inspirational space for womxn to explore the intersection of self-development, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

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