My last 5 years have been an exploration of how to better serve this world. “How can I help?” has been the question. The below 5 points are the first I consider, even before beginning to “help”:
- Help yourself, then others. My ability to help others depends on my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. One’s ability to help others usually begins with one’s own internal strength and peace – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Global change starts with you.
- Build relationships. If you are physically, emotionally and mentally healthy (or at least working on it), share that health with others. Live each moment with love and compassion for the world, and develop relationships based on the same principles. Relationships built on mutual trust, compassion, honesty, respect and open communication are not only the pre-requisite for deeply helping others, they are in fact the foundation of “community development.”
- Listen to others. Often we want to simply “help” people, but we do not understand them. If we do not understand, we cannot help. Understand that you probably DO NOT have the answers. Life is complicated, the world is full of challenges, you are not wiser than anyone else. We do, however, have our own personal experiences, education, resources, skills and energy to invest. Ask “How can I help you?” and then listen. That’s it.
- Give unconditionally. Never expect anything in return. Give no matter what you get. If we are in this work for our own personal gain, we will not reach our full potential to help. Give with an open heart, an open mind and practice unconditional love. My commitment to myself is to give with as much love and compassion in every moment as I possibly can without expecting anything in return.
- It’s not easy. Understand that serving others unconditionally is hard. It takes a huge amount of energy and at times may not give you back what you were hoping for. Release expectations, develop your internal health, grow your wisdom, practice peace, and get to work.
These 5 lessons will guide me in my next phase as I bring my work back to the U.S. Any other lessons you all have to share about “helping” others??