Making a difference in the world or in other people’s lives will make yours better as well. Today, lending your physical and emotional support to charitable groups or organizations you believe in is as important as making a financial donation.
Simply “liking” your cause on Facebook or sending a Tweet will raise awareness, which can only help. It will also make your friends aware of what you support and believe in. Think of it as giving a click to show you care.
For some people, working with animals is a total joy. Most animal shelters thrive on volunteers and have training for new ones several times a year. I know a number of people whose lives have changed for the better because they’ve taken this opportunity to help their four-legged friends. Most who volunteer there would rather spend a day at the shelter than at the beach. Hey, if you get that much from something, do it as often as you can.
There are also amazing service organizations, like Rotary International. Even though you can’t just walk in and volunteer (you have to join, go to weekly meetings, and pay dues as well as help others), Rotary has done amazing work, and their members have contributed greatly to the eradication of polio. Rotarians go to many poor countries volunteering a variety of services, which include providing basic needs of living along with medical assistance.
You or your own family can make a powerful difference closer to home. A friend saw one family cleaning up unwanted graffiti on a nearby building, so did others, and now there are no tags to be found anywhere in the neighborhood. Such action shows pride in your neighborhood. If you feel similarly about where you live, and you see where someone has defaced public or private property, go ahead and grab a bucket and brush to make your neighborhood attractive again. It will feel great. I promise.
If you want to have a personal impact on the lives of others in need, and you want to see the results of your giving, find one person or family who needs your help. I know of many families who do “holiday adoptions” of those who otherwise would not have the means to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones. The gift of warmth you receive in return is indescribable. I have done this over the years and find the opportunity really shows me what the season of giving is all about.
Giving money or material items is great when you can do it, but if that isn’t practical right now, your time or professional expertise can be a wonderful thing to offer. You can truly help others who have fallen on hard times or need some direction in their lives. Many professionals offer pro bono hours to those who cannot afford to pay. This means offering your time, treasure, and talent to make the world, including your own, a better place. Try it.Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at email@example.com. His column appears Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.