Helping Someone Else

This afternoon I was searching Google images for a graphic of a brown paper bag. This was the first one in the image search and perfect for what I was looking for. What I wasn’t expecting was also finding a really thoughtful blog post about a way to deal with stress:

Brown Bag by John Ryan

Several years ago my younger sister attended a seminar.

Would you trade this bag for another?

One of the exercises had to do with “our problems”, you know, the things we all complain about or stress over. All of the attendees were given a brown lunch bag and several small pieces of paper. They were asked to write down all of their problems on the pieces of paper provided, fold the papers and place them in the bag.

Once everyone was done, they were instructed to get up and exchange their bag with someone else in the room that they didn’t know!

Though you were able to get rid of “your problems” you were going to receive someone else’s. How would you feel? Would you do it?

What if the bag you received was worse than yours?
What if one of the problems you received was fatal?

After the exercise there was a discussion. It turned out that very few people were willing to give away their problems and take on someone else’s. The bottom line, we have figured out how to deal with our own problems even if we do complain on occasion. No life is without problems.

If you want to feel better, may I offer a suggestion? Reach out and help someone. As you put yourself out for some else your problems take a back seat. Some may say the motivation is selfish? If it makes the person you help feel better and you feel better – does the motivation matter?

Your thoughts?

Read more of John Ryan’s blog here:  Pay It Forward

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