To feel useful is rewarding and fulfilling. At times in our lives we may be helping people in our jobs, caring for a friend or family member or raising awareness for a cause we feel strongly about. We feel like we are worthy of our little place in the world because what we are doing is worthwhile.
But what if there are times when we just don’t feel useful? Perhaps our job is unfulfilling, we feel too tired to spend time helping others or just don’t have the time to do the things we feel passionate about? Feeling useless can leave us feeling unmotivated, unworthy or like a spare part in the world.
I’d like to introduce you to a concept which if you chose to subscribe to will help you to feel useful....
You are useful, no matter what!
This concept of unconditional usefulness comes from the belief that every single thing you do; every action, decision, even thought makes a difference. Let’s look at some of the philosophies and theories that indicate this.
The Theory that Nature Remembers Everything
‘Morphic Resonance’ is a theory coined by the biologist Rupert Sheldrake. The theory says that nature has an inherent memory which exists in a field of intelligence which goes beyond time and space. When an individual or a group from a species learns a new habit or skill, it is then easier for another individual or group from the same species to learn the same habit or skill, regardless of where they are in the world. The phenomenon of groups of species imitating each others’ behaviour despite being in different countries has been observed in birds, mammals and plants and is believed to exist at a human level too, since we are a part of nature.
What does this mean for you feeling useful?
Every time you learn a new habit or skill (this could be learning to treat yourself kindly, to forgive or to be compassionate), it makes it easier for someone else somewhere in the world to do the same. Did you overcome a challenge or adversity today? Did you remain calm instead of getting angry? Did you practice self-compassion? You are uploading this intelligence into the field which will help someone, somewhere to do the same.
The Law of cause and Effect
In Buddhist philosophy, the law of Karma states that for every action, there is a cause and for every cause there was an action. Everything we do (including all actions, decisions and thoughts) creates some positive karma which will ripen into a Karmic effect in this life or the next. Nothing goes unnoticed when it comes to Karma, which means everything you do makes a difference.
What does this mean for you being useful?
If you decide to subscribe to this belief system, everything you do is useful for you! Whether you receive the rewards of your actions in this life of the next, you reap what you sow. Even if you are feeling tired, or low on energy, you can still carry out some positive karmic actions by being kind to yourself. The beautiful thing about following this belief system is that you are not only being useful to your future self… when you fill up your own cup, your kindness will spill over and you will “be the change you want to see in others”.
Planting Seeds for the Future
Developments in neuroscience have shown that the brain is very flexible, and that every time we think a thought (which uses a specific network of neurones in our brain) we are strengthening our ability to think similar thoughts in the future. This process is called neuroplasticity – neurons that fire together, wire together - the brain changes! Think of every thought like planting a seed which with repeated watering will grow up to full fruition and become a part of your future.
What does this mean for you being useful?
So even when we cant go out to volunteer, save the world or help the homeless….we can be useful to ourselves by thinking kind, loving and compassionate thoughts. These seeds are planted and the more with think them, the more kind, loving and compassionate we become. The extra magical part of this is as these seeds grow into full blooms in our mind, the kindness, compassion and love will radiate out towards others in our lives. When we help ourselves now, we help others in the future.
You are useful…no matter what!
When we’re scrolling through social media it can be easy to feel useless when we compare ourselves to all of the wonderful teachers, entrepreneurs, activists and poets we see online. But for every useful post, don’t forget the small acts of kindness which go unseen. The litter picked up, the prayers, the forgiveness, the well wishes. Even the thoughts we think are useful. Each and every one of them counts. Every time you chose love over fear, you are helping yourself and others chose love over fear. Whether you like the law of karma, morphic resonance or put your faith in neuroscience, there is so much telling you that you are useful…no matter what!