In today’s society, almost everything is focused on ourselves. We think about what we can do to make our own lives better, often without much consideration for how even some of our smallest actions can impact others. While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to look out for ourselves, at what cost are we focusing on our own happiness?

I was scrolling through posts and quotes online and came across one from Keysha Jade, someone I have never met, that I just couldn’t fully understand. She said, “Choose to put yourself first and make you a priority. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.” I kept thinking to myself, “How can you not think of how your actions are going to affect someone else?”

Though I consciously try to put others first, I do have moments where I only think of myself. But, it doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me unhappy. For example, I’m terrible about honking my horn in traffic. But, I know that honking my horn is only making everyone around me, as well as me, upset.

While it’s important to focus on your personal health and well-being, it shouldn’t come at the expense of someone else. I once read that the happiest people are those that think of others, that focus on giving and doing for others. Consciously and actively striving for the benefit of others is how we escape the “me-society” that we seem to be living in. My two cents on being self-centered? Don’t do it.

Those we live, work and interact with are affected by our actions and decisions. From showing up to work late to forgetting to regularly talk to someone we care about, our actions impact more lives than just our own. Everything that we do impacts others, regardless of if we want our actions to or not. No one likes to be on the other end of someone who doesn’t consider the impact of their actions on others. We don’t like to get the short end of the stick, so why should we put others in that same situation?

Though it’s easy to sometimes feel like we don’t do anything for ourselves, the majority of people are happier when they focus on others. The more you focus on yourself, the more likely you are to be unhappy in the long run. According to social surveys in the United States, only approximately 14% of Americans say that they are very happy. That number should be a lot higher!

Because focusing on others makes you happier, it is also a great way to combat depression and stress. Research shows that helping others makes you calmer and that those that consistently help others experience less depression than those who focus more on themselves. Acts of kindness, such as volunteering your time or donating to those in need, is one of the best things to help with depression and stress.

So, my challenge for you is to take the focus off of yourself for one month. Consider how each of your actions will affect someone else and think of others before you think of yourself. If a month seems like too big of a challenge, take just one day to focus on others. Spend one day where you think about other people in everything you do and you will be amazed at the end of the day at how much better you feel. The more we try to make other people happy, the happier we will be – even if it is just for one day.