Let me share something that happens to be one of the fastest roads to personal growth and to a higher level of self awareness for me.
I started volunteering on causes I care about. These happen to be animal rights and helping children from bad neighborhoods understand the importance of education for their lives. This is something I wanted to do for a long time, and when I finally did, it paid off big time. I will share what lessons I’ve learned along the way, and share some of my musings. Read on…
First off, I’d love to list the reasons many people list as what drives them to volunteer. I have to admit it, when asked I’ve named the same reasons as well:
- I am altruistic and selfless
- I love to help others
- I want to make the world a better place
What I’ve learned by volunteering and listening to my true feelings is that volunteering is far from selfless. It is a selfish act, as you can’t help others without helping yourself (more on that below) and when you make the world a better place, you make it better for all, including yourself. This is far form altruistic and selfless.
What Can You Gain By Volunteering?
By volunteering, I’ve learned a lot of things and gained an insight I never had before. For starters, I realized that there are people far worse off than I am. It was a very humbling experience. Yes, you might mentally know that some people don’t live nearly as good as you do. But it never truly processed on an emotional level for me, until I’ve seen it and party experienced it.
I’ve met a lot of great people. People that cared for others and for the world around them. They were much different than people I used to associate with, who were mostly all about themselves. Hanging out with new friends has made an incredible impression on me and has changed the way I view the world by 180 degrees.
I’ve realized that we are all part of one living, breathing being. We all need to make a contribution. Every individual counts. Some people might be able to bring more change than others, but all of our voices count. If we amass enough people (and some speculate that only 10% is needed to create a critical mass), we can change the world.
I’ve learned that anything I do, no matter if I frame it as altruistic or not, helps me in the end. This realization has left me transformed as I gained an entirely different perspective on life after that. When others grow, I grow, when I grow, others grow too.
I highly suggest you make a conscious effort to make positive ripples in the world around you. If you don’t have the time to help people out, you can support organizations such as Red Cross or Mater Foundation and still have fun. Mater Foundation has a charitable lottery to fight cancer, for example.
I’ve learned that I can become more positive by realizing how lucky I am in life and by hanging out with people that can teach me a lot about life. Particularly, people who are doing what they preach and that aren’t just talking about things are the ones that have the most to offer.
I’ve also realized that I became pleased and proud of myself because I consistently took the time out of my day to help children and animals. It has made me much happier as I felt like I was making a difference.
And the thing is, when we are happy, when we are doing as much as we can to make a positive impact on the world, our self awareness and our consciousness grow as a result.