How Helping Others Helps You
Texas my Texas. My heart breaks for everything my friends and fellow Tejanos, from the Texas coast to the South East and Houston, have endured as a result of Hurricane Harvey. The only thing holding my heart together right now are the stories of heroism, selflessness, compassion, and caring. So if you happen to be on the edge of deciding to help or not, I’ve decided to share how helping others helps you.
Offers a Renewed Perspective
It’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes tragedy to make us focus on what’s truly important, but it does. You begin to realize that what really matters isn’t the stuff you have, but your health and that of the people you share your life with. You begin to put your life into perspective and find gratitude in the simple things, finding happiness in the ordinary vs. waiting for the extraordinary.
Returns a Sense of Purpose and Belonging
This world moves so fast and throws so much our way that it’s easy to get caught up and lose ourselves in the process. We become lost in “…an insatiable glutenous way of living (that) doesn’t bring out the best in (us) and certainly not the best for the people around (us).” At least that’s the way Shauna Niequist, author of Present Over Perfect, described it on Super Soul Sunday. I know that lately I’ve allowed myself to get caught up in this glutenous way of living, over indulging in everything, yet not feeling connected to anything.
And as Shauna’s quote indicates, that’s one sure fire way to go down the slippery slope of a myriad of negative behaviors. From becoming an alcoholic, shopaholic, workaholic, and any other aholic you can think of, to bullying, to hate speech, to you name it. The list can go on and on, but it all ends the same, with these extremes not bringing out the best in us, which then end up negatively impacting the people around us. Just look at the news and the unhappy, negative people you encounter in your everyday life.
Thankfully, when we help others and give back, we again begin to feel a sense of belonging. We begin to feel a part of a community, a part of something greater than us, vs. feeling isolated and feeling like it’s us against the world. Helping others, whether one on one, or through massive disaster relief efforts like the one we’re going through now, also gives us a sense of purpose. It reminds us of our humanity. It allows us to soften into compassion, kindness, and love, as we stop to acknowledge the humanity in everyone we see. I know I’ve felt a definite shift, not only in perspective, but in how I choose to connect to those in my life.
As you become entrenched in doing good, you begin to see changes in how you view yourself and the world around you. The good vibes seep into your core, allowing you to quiet that broken record playing over and over again in the ego mind, trying to make you believe that you’re not enough – worthy enough, pretty enough, strong enough, you name it. Dr. Brene Brown calls that our “shame story” and everybody has one. However, when we give back, and see the positive impact we’ve made in others lives, we begin to feel hopeful that things will work out in our lives too.
So as your confidence grows and you seek out more opportunities to spread compassion and kindness, why not spread a little on yourself by letting go of that ego fueled “shame story,” to get exactly what you want out of life. Unfortunately, the more we allow our ego and pride to gain strength in that story, the more we allow the cycle of anger, resentment and disconnection to continue. To break the cycle we need to let go of the fear and take a cue from those we’re helping – ask for what we want and need. Yes, I know, easier said than done, but everyone is worthy of the best life has to offer. Even us. Ego and pride are what try to convince us that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s not, it’s a sign we’re human. And humans were created as social beings, never meant to go through life alone. So why not stop tackling our problems alone?
Dr. Brown says when we feel afraid to ask for what we want and need, whatever that may be, we need to get clear with our intentions and desires and share them with whomever we’re asking or needing things from. That is true vulnerability, and where all the magic happens. This is where we get to shine a light on all our insecurities on why we’re afraid to ask for what we want. This is where the work of releasing our “shame story” begins and moves us closer to getting what we actually want. And since like attracts like, once we soften into vulnerability, so does the person we’re speaking to. They begin to see a safe space being created and they too will share their “shame stories” with you, allowing you to see the other persons perspective and point of view, which is invaluable.
And that’s how helping others helps you. It’s a full circle win win. So get out there and give back today!
Here’s a list of a few places that could use your help.
- American Red Cross
- Houston Food Bank
- San Antonio Food Bank
- The Texas Diaper Bank
- The SPCA of Texas
- If you have a spare room, and can host someone , please list your home on Airbnb for free, with no service fees to anyone.
And as you get your shop on, please consider shopping with Texas based businesses like HEB, our local supermarket chain, which has been amazing in providing warm meals, mobile pharmacies, and general emergency response services to the affected areas.
And then there are fellow bloggers and all around good people like Vianney from Sweet Life and Soy Tejana, who after having lost her home in Aransas Pass, is spending her time cooking warm meals for her community. Talk about the drive to do good!
If you have any other organizations that can use our help. please feel free to leave them in the comments.
What are you favorite ways to help others?