Sympathetic Joy: The Transformational Power of Giving, by Ellen Agler

Ellen Agler is CEO of the END Fund, an organization dedicated to the fight against neglected tropical diseases which impact over one and a half billion people globally. This post appears in its entirety as part of the article “In the Spirit of Service” where four international aid leaders explain how loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity manifest in their work.

She writes:

Sympathetic joy is a heartfelt gratification that accompanies the awareness of another’s wellbeing. It’s a joy entirely devoid of expectations. Instead, it carries one of life’s greatest pleasures: celebrating the happiness of others.

A common misconception holds that working in humanitarian aid and global health does not involve much joy, as the work puts participants on the front line, face-to-face with extreme suffering, abject poverty, and brutal human rights violations. Where is the joy in that? Over my two decades in the field, however, I have found that happiness for the joy of others is precisely what keeps so many of us inspired by and deeply connected to this work”…read full article.


Photo Credit: Artotem