In this life, one thing we can be certain of is that not only is it not always about us, it’s actually very rarely about us. It’s about “them” – our friends, our community, our region, our country and the world around us. We cannot function by ourselves, and we cannot succeed without the support of others. Likewise, they cannot succeed without us. Here are some ideas to help you get involved in the great communal effort to make the world a better place for everyone.
1. Volunteering is by far the best way to “keep your hand in.” Not only are you doing necessary and important work for whatever cause you support, but you are also creating and strengthening those social ties that are most important to each of us in times of need. It is true that you cannot pull another up without first joining hands – and this joining, once created, is almost impossible to break. By throwing your weight into the communal pull toward a better life, you join yourself to those around you in ways that will pay you back a hundred-fold in the years ahead.
2. Set up a tithe to contribute 10% of your earnings to the community, church or cause that you support, or create a tithe checking account from which to afford random acts of kindness wherever you see the need. It is only by giving that we realize how much we had to give (and thereby learn the true extent of our blessings) and it is by giving that we weave the thread of loving kindness into the fabric of our reality – a weaving that remains long after the gift has been spent.
3. Get a pet or volunteer to work in a shelter or rescue center. It’s hard to stay down when you’re caring for an animal, and the responsibility trains the mind and soul for greater works. Plus, more often than not, the love given to us from the animals we care for far outweighs what we could ever hope to return and far exceeds what our “mere human” companions can offer us as well.
4. Join or create a support team with your friends or even with total strangers. Get together to share issues and troubles and to support one another through a welcoming arm, a non-judgmental attitude and a listening ear. Celebrate wins and succor losses. Learn who needs what and in what manner and leave behind your tendency to hold back or turn away from strong emotion. Life is intense, if you do it right, and staying in that space in a time of need is the hallmark of a true friend and companion.
5. On a regular basis, make it a point to do something truly nice and unexpected for a friend, colleague or family member without letting them know who did it. Have a favorite lunch delivered to their desk, send them a bouquet of flowers, record their favorite shows while they’re out of town on business or working late on a tight deadline, wash their car, buy them a small gift – whatever strikes your fancy. If you can’t resist, you can arrange to be there when they discover their gift – but you’d better be a good actor, because it’s hard to hide the big grin of a great treat pulled off perfectly.
Including others in our lives and activities helps us build the strong bones and muscles of deep and long-lasting relationships, personal and communal. Learn to look for opportunities to do for others and you will find your own universe getting to be a happier and less stressful place to reside.
(c) Soni Pitts
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She is the author of the free e-book “50 Ways To Reach Your Goals” and over 100 self-help and inspirational articles, as well as other products and resources designed to facilitate this process of personal growth and spiritual development.