When We're Helping We're Happy

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(This is an excerpt from book Don't Throw Rocks at His Window: Real Advice to Mend a Broken Heart.)

Another way you can take your mind off your own heartache and sorrow is by reaching out to help others. If you do, you will find that there are a lot of people who have trials that are worse than your broken heart. When you forget yourself in service to others, you will feel better about yourself. You will invite the Spirit into your heart when you serve selflessly. You will feel good about how you have spent your time, and your happiness will be reflected in the way you interact with others.

Do you know the hymn, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief ”? The lyrics describe a man who serves others, both with small acts, like giving someone food, and with great acts, like giving up his life. Even though he sacrifices something to the one he is serving, in every instance he is blessed with more than he gives. He gives up his food, but his crust of bread tastes like manna to him. He gives up his bed and sleeps on the earth, but it seems like the Garden of Eden. I think the fifth verse of the hymn is especially appropriate.

Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,

I found him by the highway side.

I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,

Revived his spirit, and supplied

Wine, oil, refreshment—he was healed.

I had myself a wound concealed,

But from that hour forgot the smart,

And peace bound up my broken heart.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, speaking to the youth, said, “There are opportunities all around to stretch our lives and our interests in behalf of others. My plea is—if we want joy in our hearts, if we want the Spirit of the Lord in our lives, let us forget ourselves and reach out. Let us put in the background our own personal, selfish interests and reach out in service to others.”

Your service to others can come in the form of an organized service project, but it doesn’t have to. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. If you approach the world each day with a spirit of service, you will find opportunities to serve. It might be opening a door for someone or raking your elderly neighbor’s lawn. You might feel prompted to call a young family in your ward and offer to babysit for free so the parents can go on a date.

It can be something big that you organize and devote a lot of time to, like making baby blankets for the hospital or putting together hygiene kits for the Church’s Humanitarian Center. A very uplifting act of service is going to the temple and doing baptisms for the dead.

The size of the service really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you look outside of yourself and beyond your own troubles. Little by little, your unselfish actions will help to mend your own broken heart.

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