Labels: giving, giving back, helping the homeless, the homeless in nyc, volunteer work
To me the words "giving back" in a sentence goes like this: "I really should do volunteer work and give back for what I have received in life."
Personally I feel this means "Since I've received something, I should take the action to return it." I'm not sure when the term "giving back" originated, but it's not very helpful. Saying it can sound like an action, when the action really is the word giving. Don't get me wrong, overall it's a noble gesture, but maybe a different approach can be taken? For example..
"I really should GIVE to my fellow man in need of help," or "Although I have a roof over my head and my life is miserable, maybe I really should focus less on my troubles and GIVE to those who have less."
What's the "back" part about? And when we say it do we actually do it? Or do we wait to receive something else to remind us once more that we should be "giving back?"
And what it is that stops us from giving? From my own experience the biggest problem was myself.
In my heart I wanted to do what was best but I was afraid of where to begin. Which charity should I donate to? Who should I help? I pondered that question for years without actually lifting a finger.
And if I started and couldn't handle it emotionally, I will feel like a failure!
Another favorite was, "I actually have nothing to give."
Eventually the pattern was obvious. Fear was standing in my way (and some judgement).
So how did get over my fears? Desperation is the answer.
I definitely have! For most of my life I was crippled with depression, often thinking "I can't take this anymore." No one really knew but the few people I shared my secret with.
After being desperate enough, I walked into a hospice to volunteer, a recommendation by my late friend Dale from Miami. His words actually were, "Dude, even in the midst of your depression all you can do is think about yourself. Try thinking about someone else!"
I was pissed. How the hell could he be so insensitive??
He was right.
I realized I was blinded by self-pity and blaming others for my troubles. From the minute I walked into the hospice, I forgot about myself. I had no idea what lay ahead but I knew it was better than my present state of mind.
The appreciation I received for being there, by the staff and patients, I had never felt before.
Three years later my depression has vanished! The combination of giving and thinking less of myself lead to a spiritual awakening.
Over the years I realized it would take more than therapy to beat my depression. (10 years later I still see and love my therapist.) Anti- depressants was another help. I'm not advocating them. However I will advocate volunteer work. Being in recovery from addiction, was another key for me. It opened the door to being available to show up for volunteer work.
What can I say...if you're desperate enough you'll do what is suggested, it may change your life. It changed mine.
Today I'm a happy man. I love helping others, I love my family, I love my job and I look forward to living.
If you have any comments on this please feel free to reach out.