We are all part of many communities through our lifetimes. It’s part of being human. Some communities we decide to join, or they naturally develop as we age. Some, we are part of since the day we are born. Perhaps the easiest communities to identify are those we share the same race with, or gender, or age. Of course, it’s important to note that despite sharing these communities, using them as a crutch for your own pride is often quite shameful, depending on how it works.
For example, you may be extremely proud to be Italian. And why wouldn’t you, it’s a beautiful culture with an incredible history. But if you solely have your Italian roots as something you consider to be an immutable positive part of you, then you might be forgoing other personal virtues you can be proud of. One of these virtues, ironically enough, is being able and open to help your own community rather than simply listing its achievements whenever you need an ego boost.
Caring for and helping your community is an essential part of being human. It is wired into us. But how can we do this in the most positive manner, without a hint of venom or hate behind our actions? Let’s see how that might work:
Do Not Force Yourself On Them
When we want to help, we can dive outside of our homes with the best of intentions, just looking for a cause to be part of. We might enthusiastically bound into a cause that we do not know much about, but our intention to help is dramatic. For example, you might wish to help a local initiative, volunteer at a shelter, or help at a charity drive with care. But remember, do not force yourself on people. Tyrannizing people with your help can sometimes be just as harmful as completely ignoring their struggles. Your heart is likely in the right place completely, but remember – the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Just think of how many YouTubers record themselves giving homeless people money and food to raise their social media numbers. Sure, the effect is the same. But it’s hardly healthy to do this.
Do not force yourself on others. You might politely ask, register with official programs, or develop a more healthy means of looking forward to contribute. As part of a collective, or a charity, or an initiative, you can make the most impact, and use acts of kindness for the rest of your life conditions. For example, this is why many charitable initiatives discourage you from giving money to the homeless, because they know that their programs are there for those who wish to engage, and they would make much better use of the money where it might otherwise be used for self-destructive behaviors.
Look To Great Examples
Looking to great examples of people who are going over and above to help those in need of it, such as Cynthia Telles and her many initiatives dedicated to helping the Latino community. Seeing the grace, dedication and structural positive changes these trailblazers can have upon the world is important. Not only are the specifics of their actions worth reading about and being informed by, but you can use them as an inspirational example of someone whose virtues you would also like to embody.
Of course, who you use as an inspirational figure is up to you. It might even be someone from history. However, we would recommend you have at least one current, living and dedicated role model. It can help you become inspired for the problems we face, today, and that can help you avoid living in a theoretical world when needing to engage the real problems.
Understand What The Issues Are
You may wish to ‘help the community’ but what issues do you know of that are harming them? For example, you might wish to help teenage mental health services, to ensure that no one has to go through what your friends and relatives went through during their developmental years. A noble goal. But what about this is specifically exciting to you? Do you hope to spread awareness and help regarding teenagers who have eating disorders? Or perhaps you wish to be an advocate for OCD awareness, particularly with how it relates to those children interacting in classrooms. Have you followed research on this topic, or are you just getting?
When you frame things in the right context, you can be more direct with your action and also quite optimistic about finding the best result in the end. Understanding what the issues are is an essential part of working smarter, not harder.
Do Not Be Afraid Of Humble Help
While we have previously mentioned how humble help can be inferior to those initiatives that are truly arranged to give the most amount of help in the most effective way to the most potential impact, do not fear humble help as a waste of time. In fact, you might have a real impact. It’s often the small acts of kindness that can make the most sense and mean the most to a singular person. Perhaps, each week, you help the old lady who lives next door with her grocery shopping.
You’re headed to the same supermarket anyway, so it’s not a great deal of extra time out of your day. Sure you may not be solving world hunger or helping her with her range of health issues she might be experiencing, but that one act of kindness, each week, will be appreciated more than you know. You may even develop a friendship, we can be one of the best things you ever give someone.
Do not be afraid of humble help, provided you see the person you are helping as a friend and not a project. It can make all the difference in the world.
With this advice, you are certain to correctly care for and help your community.