‘Forget Self-Help’:

Finding happiness helping others

Author ended depression by helping other people



ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Thomas Fellows is a young software salesman who has written a slim volume about helping yourself with a very old piece of advice.

Fellows’ book, “Forget Self-Help, Re-Examining the Golden Rule” follows the journey he made out of depression by concentrating on helping others. He found helping others helped him expel his own demons.

Fellows, 28, began writing the book when he was 20 and finished it two years later. But he discovered the simple truth of the Golden Rule is a powerful tool not only for him but for anyone who really adopts it as a life skill.

“It’s all about thinking of others before self,” Fellows said. “I grew up in Buckhead. And my dreams were Buckhead dreams to join the right club, to have a great house, a car.”

But he found that chasing the American dream did nothing to fill this void in his life.

Always an avid reader, he found not only the Bible but four of his favorite writers – Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harper Lee, Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee – all wrote about aspects of the Golden Rule and the place it held in their lives.

Fellows incorporates the impressions these writers made on him – along with some Christian teachings also. But it does not take a purely Christian point of view.

He has given the book to non-Christians, and they were not offended in any way.

“They said it was religious but not preachy,” he said.

Chapter 1 is called “Crying for Someone Other Than Yourself.” On the face of it, crying for someone else seems contrary to human nature. But Fellows notes empathy is a natural emotion, but many people suppress it.

He says let empathy out. It has healing powers for one’s own soul.

It is a slim book, 113 pages in all. Each of the nine chapters deals with an aspect of the Golden Rule. Chapter 9: Becoming Christ-like is especially tantalizing. In it, Fellows explains the element of sacrifice in helping others.

“You only love someone when you are willing to sacrifice for them. Without sacrifice there is no love,” he wrote.

In our hearts we know Fellows is on to something. Have we ever known a giving soul who did not seem happy and content all the time?

Likewise, do we not find many of the people we see blessed with many earthly things seem to never be truly happy or satisfied?

“When we do for others, we provide more happiness for ourselves more effectively then when we try to focus only on ourselves,” he said.

Growing up, we have all heard the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But how many of us make that a conscious part of our daily lives? Fellows asked.

“Nobody is perfect, but if you practice it every day, you cannot help but make yourself happy too,” he said.

Fellows was moved write the book as a way of sharing his simple epiphany.

It is available on Amazon and in some of the local Barnes and Noble stores for $12.35.

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