I’m reading a book. It’s called How Can I Help? by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman.
Its main premise is that people know they should help others, and they know how it feels to give back.
But what exactly can a person do?
A quote from the book explains part of this dilemma:
And when we wonder what we have to offer anyone under any circumstances, aren’t we really questioning our self-worth?
I think there’s truth in that.
When we don’t know how to give, sometimes it’s because we doubt that we have anything of value to give at all.
But even small acts of kindness can go a long way.
Maybe you could go visit animals in a shelter today.
Don’t have time?
Maybe you could donate $10 to help the staff and volunteer do more at that same shelter that you know already does such important work for abandoned animals.
Because giving back doesn’t have to be a herculean feat.
It can be asking your neighbor if he or she needs help with anything.
It can be asking what you need right now–so that you have more to give to others throughout the day.
Humans are wired for connection.
Our brains evolved by working together to solve common problems and make it from one day to the next.
Without the support of the tribes in our lives–and the tribes of our ancestors and ancestors’ ancestors–we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Think about that.
You are the product of all the actions that came before you.
Your actions produce results for others.
We’re all connected in this way.
So when you give back to other people, you’re not just supporting them. You’re supporting yourself.
The benefits aren’t always measurable.
But maybe you feel a bit lighter in your step.
Maybe you rest a bit easier at night knowing that you made a difference, even a small one.
It feels good to give back because it feels good to do good.
It’s as simple (and profound) as that.
Thank you for reading this Giving Tuesday issue of The Mental Health Update. If you are looking for an organization to give back to, NAMI helped me and my family a lot on our mental health journey. They do amazing work to help people feel better all across the country.
Have a Good Tuesday,