Most of us grew up in a culture that emphasizes individualism and competition. I was no different. There was plenty of focus on being the best amongst my siblings, classmates, and peers. In all fairness, some attention was paid to helping others. Even so, it was looked at as secondary to everything else and was usually bestowed unto others in the form of monetary donations. Not once did I “get my hands dirty,” and what a shame it was.
It was only when I started college that was I exposed to others who shared different world views than those whom I had grown up with. In my bid not to sound like a cliché, I learned who I was by being exposed to others who did not grow up thinking on my wavelength. I realized that if you really want to, you can balance the act of achieving personal goals and helping others at the same time.
Ever since then, I have been dabbling in nonprofit and volunteer work. As beneficial as it is to spend time chasing the money and career goals, time must be carved to lend a hand to others. Don’t underestimate the power of spreading love to those who need it because at the end of the day, you’re also helping yourself. [Read: 15 things a nice person does that makes them loved by all]
How to show your love for others
There are tons of ways you can show the people around you that you care about their well being. Here are some of those ways.
#1 Give constructive support. Don’t underestimate the importance of being there for a loved one in troubling times. An example is being your friend’s pillar of strength and a shoulder to cry on in times of need. This simple act of love will mean more to them than you can imagine.
#2 Offer your help. Whether it’s offering to babysit your niece, so her parents can have some alone time or shoveling snow off your neighbor’s driveway without them asking you to, do your best to take a load off their shoulders. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with paying it forward and helping out those who need it. Start with the circle of people closest to you, then work your way outward.
#3 Shower them with attention. People love being showered with attention. Knowing that you’re thinking about them is enough to make them happy. Simple things like picking up the phone to call your dad or texting your brother takes almost no effort on your part, but will be sure to brighten up their day. [Read: Different ways to say “I love you” to someone without saying a word]
#4 Pay them a surprise visit or send a gift. Another way to spread the love to those who need it is to let them know that you’re there for them. Anything from planning a surprise visit to see your friend who just lost a parent to sending a postcard to your college roommate the next time you’re off traveling are simple examples of what you can do to spread the love. When you let people know that you care about them, they will reciprocate in kind, not just to you, but to those around them as well.
#5 Do something nice without asking for something back. We have all heard of the concept of paying it forward. It’s when you do something nice for a complete stranger in the hopes that they will do something nice for someone else, and so on. Why not start a trend?
Whether it’s paying for the person behind you at Cold Stone or offering a homeless man a hot meal, there is absolutely no loss to you when you do something nice for someone else without expecting something in return. If the whole world functioned this way, imagine how beautiful life on this planet would be. [Read: 9 real ways to get rid of that sense of entitlement]
#6 Volunteer your time. From your local shelter to a soup kitchen, dedicate a couple of hours a week to lending a hand. Don’t limit yourself to charities and nonprofit organizations. You can also volunteer your time to help those in your community. Start a community garden on an abandoned piece of land, where people can get together to grow herbs and flowers. Organize a cleanup at the local school, and invite students and their families to lend a hand.
No matter what you end up volunteering your time for, you can rest assured that it will change at least one person’s life for the better, and at the end of the day, so long as you touch one life, your efforts will be more than worth it. [Read: 5 ways volunteer work can help heal depression]
#7 Put your skills to good use. Another great way to spread the love to those who need it is to put your skills to good use. For example, if you have a flair for writing, send out introduction letters to nonprofit organizations in your area, and offer your complimentary services.
Everything from penning press releases to reworking the copy on their website will mean a lot to them. If you speak a foreign language, offer language exchange classes to kids in your neighborhood or even to family members. What’s the point of having crazy cool skills if you can’t use them for good?
#8 Stand up for those without a voice. One of the worst things that you can do is to remain silent and do nothing when you know that cruel things are going on around you. You must be familiar with the plight of the Rohingya people who face ongoing persecution in Myanmar based on their religion and roots.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the outspoken leader of the opposition party, human rights activist, and winner of a Nobel Peace Prize has yet to say a word about what’s going on in her country for fear of losing votes in the upcoming election. Despite pleas by the Dalai Lama himself to stand up for the Rohingya community, her hypocritical silence is deafening, and she may as well give her Nobel Peace Prize back. Unlike her, you need to do what’s right now, and not wait it out hoping that someone else will deal with it.
There’s no need to cross the globe and dabble in conflict. Start at home. All you have to do is lend a hand in your community, and speak up for those who need your help. Whether it is reporting a neighbor who abuses his dogs or speaking up for kids who want a safe place to play, there are many things that you can do to lend your voice to those in need. [Read: 7 reasons playing the victim makes your life worse]
#9 Impart knowledge and wisdom. Take the time to teach others what you know. Everything and anything goes, so long as it is a skill that others will be able to use. Love football? Offer to coach the kids in your neighborhood. Love gardening? Teach others how to nurture a green thumb by starting a community garden. Sharing truly is caring, so don’t wait a second longer to share what you know with others.
#10 Don’t indulge in gossip. Similar to standing up for those who don’t have a voice, you can spread the love by refusing to partake in gossip. Stand up for the person others are badmouthing, and urge your friends to give them the benefit of the doubt. When you do the right thing, you may just awaken something inside others. Should you discourage displays of bad behavior, others may just follow suit. [Read: The 10 types of toxic friends who’ll make your life feel negative]
#12 Be kind and grateful. When you display positive traits, they will undoubtedly rub off on others and encourage them to do the same. It’s the simple things in life that count. Everything from putting a smile on your face to thanking those around you for enriching your life will make a difference, not just in your day, but in others’ as well.
[Read: 11 simple ways to make each day more meaningful]
Spreading the love to those who need it isn’t that difficult. All it takes is a little organization and time management, and you will be able to do anything you set your mind to. Whether it’s watching your nephews for an afternoon while mum and dad take some time off or starting a community project to benefit your neighborhood, every little act of love helps.
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