Hans Selye was a scientist from Canada who was a true pioneer in discovering the impact of emotions on a person’s health, writing more than 30 books on the subject.
In his landmark publication, “The Stress of Life,” Selye’s research uncovered a principle that is crucial for a person to have if they are to be emotionally healthy. He called it altruistic egoism, but it’s nothing more than the Biblical truth expressed in Luke 6″38 when Jesus said, “Give and it will be given unto you.” And in Proverbs 11:25 we are told: “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” In other words, when we enrich someone else’s life, we find our own lives enriched. Selye observed this particular principle over many years of research.
The principle in its simplest form states, “We receive in this life by giving.” God designed the human heart to give and we receive great joy in this life when we give.
This may sound self-serving to some, that I should give to others so that I can receive. But in reality, God is telling us this is the way I designed you. This is the way you will function best as a human being.
So, if this is true, then the inverse of this principle is also true, that self-centeredness leads to misery in life.
Excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance
Several years ago, an interesting book was published, selling thousands of copies. “The Narcissism Epidemic,” was written by two American psychologists and focused on the significant shift that has occurred in our culture’s psychology; the relentless rise of narcissism.
Narcissism is defined as “an excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.” The authors contend that this epidemic of narcissism has resulted in people being more depressed, more discontent and more unhappy than ever before.
When we fail to do what God designed us to do, it is just a matter of time before we malfunction.
We know how to get you out of your depression
The story is told by Dr. M. Scott Peck, the famous psychologist and author, who describes a woman patient who suffered from extreme depression. One day, when she was scheduled for an appointment, she called and told Dr. Peck her car had broken down. He offered to pick her up on his way into work, but explained he had to make a hospital call before he got to the office. If she was willing to wait in the car while he made the call, they could have their appointment. She agreed.
When they got to the hospital, he had another suggestion. He gave her the names of two of his patients who were convalescing there, and told her that each of them would enjoy a visit from her. When they met again an hour and a half later, the woman was on an emotional high. She told Dr. Peck that trying to cheer up the patients had lifted her spirits, causing her to feeling incredible.
Dr. Peck responded by saying,
“Well, now we know how to get you out of your depression. We know the cure for your problem.”
The woman answered,
“You don’t expect me to do that every day, do you?”
When you enrich someone else’s life, you find your own life enriched. However, when one is consumed with themselves, it is just a matter of time before they find themselves depleted and emotionally impoverished.