Growing up, I was amazed at how happy those that served others often felt. They seemed to have a truly inner satisfaction that the rest of us were missing.
I also wondered why I didn’t have a ‘calling’ like so many others to volunteer as willingly as I should. What was I missing that led me to chose more self-centered pursuits?
Some research shows that people normally develop through 3 phases of maturity.
The first is obvious as an infant; we are totally reliant on others for our nurturing and survival. Once we become able children we exert our independence – pushing away help and accepting the challenges on our own.
Finally, we realize that our needs are best met by enlisting the help of others to match up with our own efforts to produce a finer result.
So that may serve our needs but what about the needs of others? What motivates us to reach out and help?
Ironically it may even be a selfish act. Needed, altruistic and admired – but selfish all the same.
Because it meets our needs more than we can possibly understand. By turning around the paradigm of looking after ‘me’, we find that joy, freedom, inspiration and satisfaction flow richly into our lives in ways that we never expected.
So how do we start?
- Observe. People who need your help are all around. You know when you start to focus on any idea and it will start to appear all around you. Just bought a new white car by Nissan? Notice all of the white Nissan’s on the road? – so it is with people that could use a hand. Think about helping others and your thoughts will manifest the opportunity.
- Take action. Small at first, but make the first step. Say hello and then while assessing their needs, determine how you may help. Ask, “Can I help you?” It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you may meet rejection but above all don’t take it personal. Many in need don’t see it or don’t trust and they certainly are not in the most receptive state of mind.
- Be Generous. Your time – your money – your energy and maybe most difficult – your pride and reputation. It costs to be generous – but as many will attest – it is more than worth the investment.
- Tune out the radio station – WII FM ‘What’s in it for me’. When you truly give without expectation of return, you will soon find that the returns are not external. They come from within. And when that happens, you have reached lasting joy that just can’t be derived from material or selfish means.
Like most pursuits, they take time to master. And the learning can be filled with ups and downs. Know in your heart you are moving in the right direction and by taking small – real steps each day, you will meet your goals. (And your needs!)