In Helping Others You Help Yourself

I know that in my last post How Helping Others Helps You – Burnout Stories of Help I promised you my friend’s story. It is a tale of survival in terrible odds, never giving up hope, and coming out of this experience with the determination to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances. My friend indirectly inspired me to start writing this series. He is, however, not ready yet to share his story, and I will only publish it after he has given me the green light. So, the wait will be a little longer.

In Helping Others You Help Yourself

Not to worry, though, the story will come πŸ™‚

In Helping Others You Help Yourself

When we do something nice for others we often feel that glow, this inexplicable high. We always feel good when we help others, when we see that grateful smile or we just know that we were there for that person. Of course, this applies only if we are not being taken advantage of. There is giving; and then there is giving that makes you feel depleted, because for that one person it is never enough or they only call you when they need you.

In general, though, giving to others makes us feel good. Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive”. I’ll add another quote by Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

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Did you know that there is a scientific explanation for that emotional high we feel when we give?

Research has shown that giving stimulates the same part of the brain that is triggered by food and sex.

In a three-week study, researchers discovered that people who participated in their tests had less depression; a decrease that was caused by sharing and receiving support.

There are plenty of data which show that giving is a pathway to personal growth and happiness.

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Giving is done with love and so what is really important is not how much we give but how much love we put in to it.

Some psychological theories state that giving is in fact an act of selfishness, because of the satisfaction it awakens in us. I do not entirely agree with that. There are many who give from the bottom of their heart, because they genuinely want to help. This is, of course, a personal opinion, but I have seen plenty of people who have given so much without expecting anything in return, which is why it is hard for me to agree with that theory.

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Don’t Feel Obliged to Give

Don’t let anyone take you on a guilt trip about giving. For example, a friend or acquaintance is asking you to give to a charity that you may not support or at the moment you cannot afford the expense. Giving should always be genuine; no one should be cajoled into giving when it doesn’t really come from their heart.

Sometimes I receive emails about certain causes, but at that moment I can’t give a donation, because my credit card is full or it’s hard with the current exchange rate (I live in Mexico), and I feel absolutely terrible when I can’t help. I remind myself to check these causes later, to give to them at a later date. When I can’t give financially, I sign petitions and share them. When I can, I make a financial donation. You do what you can.

Time is a Wonderful Gift

JerryHelp does not always come in the shape of money. Giving a few minutes, or hours, or even a day, to someone else can make a whole difference for that person. Spending a few hours with your friend and listening to him/her in her time of need; volunteering at a soup kitchen, a local animal rescue center, retirement homes, and so on. All these actions do not require any monetary investment, but instead you give something else that is valuable: your time.

No One Has Ever Become Poor by Giving – Anne Frank

There are some wonderful quotes which I would like to use to end this article. Tomorrow I am meeting my friend and I will ask him when he will be ready to share his story, so I can share it here with you. It is a truly inspiring story. I’m just waiting for him to go over the details with me πŸ™‚ to make sure I got it all right.

In the meantime, I will leave you with these quotes.

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others” – Booker T. Washington

“The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away” – Dorothy Day

volunteer

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver” – Maya Angelou

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another” – Charles Dickens

Thank you for reading! If you have a comment or question, please let me know in the comments below πŸ™‚

 

16 thoughts on “In Helping Others You Help Yourself”

  1. This is a very timely article to say the least. With all that is going on in the world today. The global pandemic, civil unrest throughout the United States, the economic condition worldwide.

    This website, I believe, will help a lot of people. I appreciate the points you made in the article.

    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  2. Hi, Christine,

    The title of your post has a great truth in it. As members of the human race, we have to help each other whenever we can. As you pointed out, it’s sometimes out of our hands, but if we can do something for others, we should do our best to help them. We never know when we might need their help. I’m not saying we should help others with this in mind, but we can’t overlook this fact.

    I remember reading in the novel 1984 about a dilemma the main character faced. Does unselfishness really exist? When we help others, we feel good about it. It’s something that benefits us in the end. Does that make us selfish? Are we always driven by interest? That got me thinking.

    We have to learn to establish limits. Unfortunately, there will always be people who will try to take advantage of others. We have to identify those people and learn to say no. It’s one of the hardest things there are. We may feel guilty in the beginning, but it is sometimes necessary.

    I look forward to reading your friend’s story. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Hello Christine, I have a list of people I’ll be glad to show this article to because they really need to learn and first is my 12year old daughter. People need to understand they what goes around comes around and if you’re being good to others it may not be physical but you’re also helping yourself somehow. Great article 

    Reply
  4. I couldn’t agree more! In helping others, you definitely help yourself! I strongly believe in the following phrase: “Fill your cup first, help others with the overflow”. This is kind of what was going through my head as I read your article. I definitely think helping others is great but you don’t always have to put yourself in detrimental situations to do that. Thank you for this great read!

    Reply
  5. I love love your post on the essence of giving and I think you are very right. Personally, I usually feel very good when I am able to give someone. Like Anne Frank frankly stated, we do not get poorer from giving which I believe is very important if we want our own happiness. I like how you shared about the research that shows that helping makes us feel better and eradicates depression.

    Reply
  6. Christine,

    In your last post, I told a story about my husband and I saving a woman that had gone off the road and we did it because we just wanted to help. But this article rang true in other facets of those I’ve seen around me give and give and give and never get anything in return.

    One part of this is my Mom, my husband and my brother. I leave myself out of this because I help in certain circumstances, but I will say, rarely do I help those closest to me unless it’s a dire reason. This sounds selfish, but in a way, it’s not.

    I grew up with my brother and he’s always been a very trusting person. He helped people all the time, with everything, and I watched him get taken advantage of. His vehicles would get broken into, his money stolen, clothes, etc. I always asked him why he trusted everyone, and he simply told me that he saw the good in everyone, regardless.

    See, I’m different. I can tell within minutes for some reason, whether a person seems good or bad. To this day, I’ve met people and just looking in their eyes, I know I wouldn’t want them knowing where I live. I tried helping my brother when we were young, telling him to stay away from certain people that he would bring over, but he ignored me as always. He’s had it rough all his life, always trusting people.

    My Mom is the same. She helps people all the time, and gets nothing in return except from her kids, my Brother and I. Her so-called friends at work don’t help her, and she’s had a rough go of life as well. I’ve watched this.

    My husband, the same. He helps people all the time, even “supposed” close friends. But what grates on me is when I hear them say something negative about him after he’s spent hours after work helping them. There was an instance where we went to a friends to help with flooring. He went outside for a while, while we continued laying flooring. I stood there staring at him, like why are we doing your house for you while you sit outside? I’m not getting paid for this. I even said something when he came back in after 30 minutes, and he just laughed it off. My husband said it was no big deal, let’s just finish this. Meanwhile, his friend is outside gabbing it up with someone else while we’re going his dirty work.

    I told my husband, I’m not helping them anymore. And this is why I rarely help “friends”. They tend to take advantage and when you need help down the road, they’re too busy. I’d rather help a stranger knowing that I don’t want anything in return. Then at least it’s genuine.

    Sorry – this was long.

    Thanks!

    Katrina

    Reply
    • Hi Katrina,

      When people are taking advantage of your help, then they are draining you and leaving you feeling empty. It’s horrible how so called friends and colleagues took advantage of your brother and mother’s goodness. I agree with you that in such cases of exploitation, you have to put your foot down and say no. I doubt that people who keep on taking advantage of someone’s good heart have any respect for that person … It would indeed be better to invest your help and energy in someone who is more appreciative.
      It is too bad that genuine good people are so easily taken advantage off, I have seen it too …
      And don’t be sorry for leaving long comments. I really appreciate your comments and stories, they are all valuable input πŸ™‚
      Have a beautiful day!

      Reply
  7. They said the more you are selfless is the more you apareciate the world and the more you tend to get help.back. in defimitley helping others, there is always the simple return of benefits that comes to us. What you shared here is the fundamentals of life. Good comes to the doer and the more you do is the more you get.

    Reply
  8. Reading through this article right now has helped me on a lot of ways, it’s very true that when you help others, you feel better, you feel fulfilled and this makes it very easy for you to breathe, I mean if you help sincerely then you’re literally helping yourself. This is a nice one, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  9. Hello there Christine, thank you for sharing this article about helping others. I completely agree with you that helping others is also a way to help yourself and it’s coincidental that I had this discussion with a friend a few days ago. Kindness and joy are two characteristics that in my opinion go hand in hand. Thank you for sharing this article. 

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  10. There’s so much true in this article that I’m a bit lost for words. I would like to add another quote here that I remembered and like to remind my self off. It’s a quote from Florence Scovel Shinn that I’ve heard a few years ago, and it goes like this. β€œThe game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.” In other words, whatever you send out, comes back to you. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. It’s the law that is always working. Giving our time, service, attention, knowledge, experience, money, and other material and immaterial possessions to help others is going to come back at you at one way or another. It doesen’t have to be from the same source, but it will come back from somewhere. It’s the law and laws are unbreakable. Anyway, thanks for sharing an amazing article. Keep doing a great work!

    Reply
  11. Hi,

    Great post. I love helping others without asking anything back. I know for sure that you don’t know when or how but peoples who you help will always help you back.

    Thanks for the great informations.

    Reply
    • Hi Patrick,

      That’s true, people who you help will help back, as long as they are not taking advantage. Or perhaps, they will realize later on in their lives how you have always been there for them and will now be there for you too. Who knows, right?

      Someone gave me a big help a few months ago. Now she is going through a hard time and so today I sent her some help. One day it was me, today it is her, you are there for each other.

      Reply

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