Enrich Your Life Through Service to Others.
We all work our fingers to the bone so that we can buy the things that make us “happy.”
In American culture today, advertisers’ aim is to convince we masses that we are lacking, and opportunities are scarce. We are lead to believe that having more of the right things will bring us greater happiness.
What if, instead, we simply decide to be of service and fill that void with the fulfilling joy of helping others?
Giving our time away in order to feel “richer” may seem counter intuitive, but it works!
One of the most important foundations of living an abundant life is to share the wealth.
My favorite way to give back is through service to others—prioritizing spending even a little time helping others makes it happen. We’re all busy in today’s world; this is not an excuse.
We each are given 24 hours in a day—everyone can make a little time to help others.
Being generous with our time and talents makes us feel happy and helps us attract prosperity. When we volunteer our services to others, we are paid back in the “currency” of smiles, hugs, thank you’s, high fives, gratitude and a sense of purpose. Another perk is that we are spending time thinking about others, instead of ourselves.
When we help others, it changes our perspective.
When we’re giving our time lending a hand, our lives are no longer defined by scarcity. Volunteering our time reminds us that everyone needs help. Easing someone else’s burden boosts our own mood.
Take action, help others.
Wondering how to start helping others? It’s different for everyone. Service can be planned or spontaneous, for someone we know or a stranger. What do we do best? Where is help needed right now?
Six meaningful ways to help others:
1. When there’s a natural disaster, pitch in.
During or in the aftermath of any disaster, simply make ourselves available to help with anything. In my town last summer, we had a flood. Every day I simply put on my rain boots, grabbed a shovel and a bag of homemade cookies and hit the streets. Everywhere I went there was mud to shovel, water to bail, a victim who needed a hug and a homemade treat or just someone to talk to. It wasn’t fancy or clean. But, I felt like I made a big difference, even when I was just doing a little.
A food bank is an organization that distributes food, free of charge, to the poor and hungry. Calories are a basic need and when someone is underfed, it’s challenging to accomplish the day’s tasks. There are many exciting and rewarding ways to help at a food bank: distributing or repackaging food, nutrition tutoring, delivery, fund raising, clerical work, face time with clients or stocking food. Volunteering at the food bank probably won’t make us millionaires, but it that’s okay because with all of the gratitude received, we’ll be living an abundant life.
3. Be a mentor for a child.
Mentorship is an ongoing relationship where a wiser person helps to guide a lesser-experienced person on the path towards personal development. A mentor becomes an experienced friend who guides the child. Positive outcomes for the child are higher self-esteem, heightened likelihood of staying in school, setting and attaining career goals, and better school attendance. When a child learns something new, their proud smile is payment enough.
4. Donate blood!
The demand for donated blood is constant. More than 41,000 blood donations are need everyday in the U.S. There is no substitute for blood: it cannot be produced in the lab. The entire process of donating blood only takes an hour and it’s something we can spare. When we donate a pint of blood, the body naturally replaces it completely in four to eight weeks. It is a wonderful feeling to share something vital with a recipient who really needs it. Donating blood saves lives.
Volunteering is a terrific way to give back to our community. Helping others benefits the receiver, but it can also help us learn more about ourselves. It is a free way to learn new skills and assess our aptitude for things we’re curious about. It is eye opening to watch the impact even small tasks can have on someone being helped. When we reach out and help others, it gives us perspective and new appreciation for how rich our own lives already are. Wondering how to reach out? Ask libraries, religious organizations and community colleges if they sponsor any volunteer groups. Look for volunteer opportunities in your local newspaper or community message board. Call the local animal shelter and ask how we can help. Visit a local retirement home and offer assistance.
6. Help a neighbor or a stranger.
Lend a helping hand to a neighbor who may need assistance raking leaves or shoveling snow. Offer to babysit and give a hard working parent a break. Scrape the ice off of an elderly persons car on a chilly morning. The next time we notice someone pulled over with a flat tire, or somehow in need of help, stop and ask, “How can I be of use?” Sometimes all they need is a push or to borrow a cell phone.
Helping others is love in action. It enriches our lives. Everyone benefits from serving and being served by others. When we live in gratitude, we have more energy for helping others.
Conversely, the more we are in service of others, the more appreciation we have for our many blessings.
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.” ~ Dalai Lama
Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is in the service to others.”
Save your pennies!
When we’re on the receiving end of a helping hand, it lifts our spirits.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant journal