Helping Others to Help Yourself



Do you ever feel like no one cares about what you do, how you feel, or what you say, and that there are reasons why people don’t like you?  It may be the way you feel, but your interpretation of situations may not be grounded in what is truly happening.  If you are feeling those feelings, then, they are real to you and you need to do something to change those feelings. You have to feel better about yourself and others around you.  Helping others is one way to change these feelings.



Helping others can be a very uplifting experience.  You may think that you are feeling down or maybe have low energy, so how can you possibly help others?   This may be the best time to seek out volunteering opportunities.  Doing something for others is a selfless act that can raise your spirits and make you feel like you are making a difference in someone’s life.  In this experience, you will find that others do care and they will appreciate your actions and support. As David Klow, a licensed therapist used to say, “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.”

Where can you volunteer? Food pantries, libraries, animal shelters, schools, nursing homes, farmer’s markets, hospitals, churches, Habitat for Humanity, non-profit organizations….and the list goes on.  If there is something that you have a particular interest in, then, research volunteer opportunities in that area. Finding something that you are passionate about is crucial to expanding your feelings of joy and of making a difference.   You may find that the volunteer opportunity opens doors to a paying job where you can have a career of your passion.





Many times people who go through trauma, illness, rough patches in life, addictions, etc and come out stronger people on the other side are the best people to help others who are going through that same issue.  Going back to school to get training, certification or a degree may be the best option to help others while helping yourself.  Even two people who go through the exact same crisis, experience it in different ways, but knowing that someone went through something similar can be very comforting to the person currently going through it.  So even if you are going through something that seems to be like the most awful situation, it can strengthen you and make you a great resource to others. Vara Saripalli, PsyD says “Be supportive and let them know it is not that you think something is wrong with them, but that you want them to have some help with their current challenges. Sometimes, people who are depressed want help but don’t know how to get started.”



If you have a passion for reading and you want to share it with others, leading a book club can be a great option.  Ask your local library if it is something that you could do at their location.  Another option is to lead a book club on Facebook.  You can create a book club private group and then share it.  You will find like-minded people who want to share their love of reading and of specific books.  If you are less comfortable leading a group who is sitting in front of you, the Facebook option may be perfect for you.  Many people who are more on the introverted side feel a real connection and ease with writing.  Since you are typing your ideas and comments in a Facebook group, it may make you feel a real connection with other book lovers.




If you have a passion for a certain hobby, such as knitting, baking, cake decorating, speaking a second language, computer skills and etc., you may look into teaching a class at a senior center or in adult education classes.  Sharing a passion will bring you joy and it will also bring happiness to others who want to learn that skill.  Helping others to learn about something they are interested in and something you love will make them feel good and will boost your feelings of well-being. According to Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC, “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives.” So try looking at things differently.