"Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.”

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was perhaps, one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century. He lived from 1875 to 1965. During the course of his long life he was a doctor, an academic, a philosopher, a musician, and a humanitarian. In 1952 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life” which is is a translation of the German phrase: "Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben" (more accurately translated as: "to be in awe of the mystery of life"). His accomplishments are far too many and too great to be mentioned here, but his philosophy of life should be understood and revered by us all.

If we can accept the fact that as human animals we must live in the company of other humans and that without other humans on the planet, we will not survive; we can move much further toward acceptance of others; and as the great Schweitzer said, “Live richer and happier lives by living for others.” I have taken a holistic approach to this quote and suggest that we should all live our lives for everyone else on the planet. The harder part that Schweitzer speaks of is that to live for others, we must overcome our natural human desire to put ourselves first and to fight back whenever we feel an injustice has been enacted against us. Acting in a selfless manner every day is one of the hardest things for humans to do.

Relationships amongst people are difficult but they are oh, so valuable and rewarding. When we become annoyed, perplexed or angry with another person we set into motion a series of events that will make us unhappy. Our negative emotions will often be followed by negative words and actions which will be followed by a negative response from the person we have brought our problem to. Very likely, the person that is the object of our vexations will react negatively which will cause them to respond in kind. Next, they will seek retribution from us while bringing other people into the cloud of negativity that we created. This never-ending circle of negativity is so commonplace on planet earth that it is actually considered the norm by otherwise intelligent, rational and sane human beings. Amazing isn’t it!

Human beings are imperfect and we all live in an imperfect world but if we choose to accept the world and the people on it for what they are, while living to be of service and solace to others, our lives will be gloriously enriched. Instead of living for ourselves and taking things that others do personally, we will serve ourselves and others well by taking a pause before a negative reaction and asking ourselves, “Is it worth it? Or...will negativity make the situation better?” When you are able to answer NO to both of those questions you will be on the pathway to living for others and your life will be on the verge of being richer and happier.

Here is the best part: If you make a conscious effort to live for others, everyone you meet will make a conscious effort to live for you! Your circle of well-wishers and loved ones will grow and your life will become free of stress, fear, and anger. What could be better?

All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Author's Bio: 

Wayne Kehl is an author, lecturer, and behavioral analyst in British Columbia, Canada. Find out more about him at www.waynekehl.com or www.dlionline.ca