This is inspired by a recent discussion after a friend of mine posted regarding some volunteering going on in Houston. The conversation got, at times, rather heated. I didn’t really have too much to say about it other than “I believe in volunteering without getting something out of it”.
I have thought a lot about this over the last year while I have been working to form my non-profit. Creating my non-profit came out of years of personal pain and challenges in my own life. I think about times when I probably needed someone to help me but had no idea of where to find help. I at times felt alone, isolated and worried. But I was lucky enough on occasion to have the right people come into my life, at the right time. In creating my non-profit, it was a way for me to provide something to others who don’t know where to find help or how to get out of situations they are in. I want to do as much as possible to prevent people from experiencing the pain and challenges that I have. But it’s also empowering them to pay it forward.
I have always been the kind of person to be there for everyone. It’s was kind of an addiction. If someone asked me for help, I would have the hardest time saying no. For many years I chose to help people without first helping myself. I talked a bit about this in another post “The Comeback“. I won’t get too much into this again but I will say I am getting better at just saying “no”.
While I am saying no more often, it still doesn’t take away my desire to help people. I love volunteering because I do truly believe in giving back. I heard someone say once “Volunteering involves actions ‘performed with free will, for the benefit of the community, and not primarily for financial gain.” I do truly believe in that. While I never expect to get anything out of it, I still do. It helps my mental state but also makes my own issues feel relatively small. I also get the opportunity to connect with other people and sometimes learn something new. The biggest thing for me, however, is setting an example for my kids. They are our future, right?
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It’s been wonderful seeing people come together in Houston and in Florida. Especially after what seemed like so much separation in the country over the last year. It in a way proves that we are all connected in some way. I think it’s natural for humans to want to help each other. Keep doing what you are doing. But know that volunteering doesn’t always come with recognition.Believe it or not, we can actually do life-changing things for others in the world and not have to be recognized for it through comments and likes. We must remember the real reason we volunteer – for selflessness, not selfishness. Instead of celebrating ourselves, let’s post to celebrate the thing or people we are volunteering for. That’s what doing for others is all about, right?