As a person, I am very selfish. I like to think to myself that I do things for my family and friends, but in the end, I still put myself first. I think often.. “how can I get better? How do I make more money? How do I make myself a more worthy person?
Recently, the truth hit me in the face. I have come to realize that being a better “person” isn’t just being better at the skills I hone, but it’s about giving back. I have a very dear friend, who for the longest time, I didn’t understand how and why he can dedicate all his free time to help tutoring kids and just volunteering wherever he could. While I used to go out all the time or planning the next party, he was using vacation time to drive all over the city to help kids with homework and doing lectures.
Now, I don’t know if it’s because of my job, or where I am in life, but I have also been tapping into that same question–“how do i give back?” Funny thing is, I applied to a lot of volunteer positions for the sake of getting something on my resume, and none of it worked out. I think the motive of me volunteering was what the problem was–I didn’t like the things I volunteered for, but was only doing it for the sake of doing it.
However, I recently started teaching Chinese at my local temple, and although it is not necessarily the most glamorous volunteer job, I am actually having fun and feeling inherently happy. I really enjoy helping the kids and it’s a kind of different happiness that has nothing to do with prestige, or recognition or reward. It’s just enjoyable helping others in the moment. Simple as that.
I don’t mind getting up early to help set up and I find myself very humbled by the endless hours that some of the other volunteers put in. It is impressive and so endearing to see how many selfless people are out there.
Of course, on a more personal note, this positions also helps me in the long run as again, having a difference experience such as this helps me become a better person. Although it has only been 3 weeks, I feel that being in such a role allows me to reflect my behaviour. I am more patient with people as dealing with kids is obviously difficult sometimes.. but learning to set my foot down when they are misbehaving. It is a completely different experience than work or anything else I have done.
….But let me make it clear though that motherhood is NOT in the picture anytime soon.
So, as cliche as it sounds, helping others really is a way to happiness. I plan to keep doing this for awhile and continue finding other things that make me happy.. I am still in the search for more fulfilling activities, so stay tuned!