What I wanted to share today comes from a General Conference talk by H. Burke Peterson, "Selflessness: A Pattern for Happiness." In my study of "charity... seeketh not her own," today I felt impressed to look up the word "selfless" on lds.org, and this was where that lead me. There are many precious gems embedded in that talk for you to dig out, but the one that I was really struck by was how being selfless brings happiness back to the person who is selfless. In Elder Peterson's words:
This morning I would like to teach of another divine attribute—a quality which, when it becomes part of our lives, produces as an outgrowth individuals who are happy in their relationships with others and at peace with themselves and those around them: siblings who enjoy each other more; married couples who cherish their relationships; those who are alone, for whatever reason, who find a fuller and more abundant life. You see, there are those among us today who are completely selfless—as was [Jesus Christ].What a paradox! If we stop worrying so much about our own well-being, we actually end up becoming happier from it! In a way, selflessness isn't really completely selfless. In other words, if you are struggling with sadness, self-consciousness, or anxiety, you can feel better by forgetting yourself and serving others. It's the ultimate win-win situation!
Of course, I must add here that I understand that there are those of you who struggle with real depression or anxiety disorders who will still feel sad or upset whether you choose to serve others or not. This is one of the most difficult trials I could imagine, because I know how much you want to be happy and serve others. My message to you is that you are wonderful. Remember that "the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). He will bless you for your righteous desires, and someday you will be able to do all of the good you desire and feel all of the happiness you yearn for. Because Christ suffered for you, He "[knows] according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:12). He will help you in His wisdom and His perfect timing.
If we do our best to forget ourselves and serve others with selflessness, "[seeking] not [our] own," I promise that each of us will find true happiness in this life and in the next.