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Author Topic: Service to others and discouragement  (Read 2385 times)

Sefiru

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 07:21:53 pm »
The thing is that my dad always used to tell me that I am lazy, and with my current situation of not being productive this is kind of getting to me.

I'd just like to point out that there is a difference between "productivity" and "worth". There is more to you than your labor, and you have value whether or not you are "useful" to anybody.

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I don't feel that my contributions have started yet

What exactly are you thinking of when you say "contributions" and "service"? I mean, there is a wide range of ways to help others and support a community, from volunteering for charities to buying local to lending a co-worker a tampon. Sometimes I get the feeling that pop-culture says only volunteering "counts", which is kind of a downer for those of us who haven't got the time/energy/skills/transportation to do so.

As far as careers go, sure, some such as medicine have a lot of prestige as far as "helping others" goes, but there are jobs like my own (administrative work for a life insurance company) which are also helpful to people, despite having about zero prestige.

Think outside the box.

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2018, 10:26:18 am »
I think it is all of the above. I ended up being caught up in the anti-motivation spiral.  The thing is that my dad always used to tell me that I am lazy, and with my current situation of not being productive this is kind of getting to me.

That's definitely a hard place to be in.

I struggle a lot with feeling like I've done 'enough', so one thing I do is track what I've been doing. That gives me a sense of what is actually true rather than relying on how I feel about it (which is sometimes in accurate). It also helps a lot in making sure I make progress on much bigger projects over time. I use a spreadsheet (detailed description over here)

Some people do gratitude journals every night, or other kinds of journalling (like writing down one thing they're glad they did, or that helped others.)

In terms of motivation and long-term planning, there are tons of books out there about helping you figure out what your skills and interests are. Your local public library probably has a bunch, and possibly also some online resources that can help, for example. These can be self-help books, or career focused books (What Color Is Your Parachute is a classic, and might be a good starting place for the latter.)

I tend to think that the sweet spot for motivation is the place where things I'm interested in meets things I'm reasonably good at (or am working at being good at). It's a lot harder to get up motivation for things I'm lousy at, or things I'm not interested in.

(Also, remember how in my earlier post I said I say no to a lot of things? I do that with a lot of 'do I want to develop this skill' or 'do I want to do more of this thing' too. That gives me more time and energy for doing the things I'm really good at, care about, or make a difference for other people.)

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That is great.  I don't think that I am there with my spirituality yet.  I am trying to understand things but it is quite difficult for me.  For instance I was at the hospital the other day and I was wondering how can the workers there deal with seeing the sicknesses all the time.

Different people are good at - and care about - different things. That's good, because it's a big complex world with lots of different needs in it. We don't all need to be health care workers to help other people - there's all sorts of other kinds of things.

Stuff I've done that is explicit volunteering that's helped other people:
  • Volunteer reviewing terms of service issues for an online site
  • Teach people technology skills and help them troubleshoot personal tech needs
  • Serve on the committee for community events so they happen (Pagan Pride, mostly in my case)
  • Helping an organization file for 501(c)3 status and figuring out paperwork/documentation
  • Give friends rides to appointments or the grocery store
  • Help friends with big organizational projects
  • Help friends in stressful situations (grieving or a new baby) coordinate help of other friends
  • Sharing info about Pagan and witchy topics here, through my website, and email

As you can see, I sort of deliberately skew to 'help people with information and organization' but that's a thing I'm really good at and have a bunch of specific skills with, and it's a thing a lot of people or events or organizations need.

But those same people and events and organizations sometimes need people who can help with physical setup and details, or specific skills (like first aid certification or more advanced health care training) or all sorts of other things which I'm not good at or don't have the skills for.
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rous54

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2018, 11:26:35 am »
What exactly are you thinking of when you say "contributions" and "service"? I mean, there is a wide range of ways to help others and support a community, from volunteering for charities to buying local to lending a co-worker a tampon. Sometimes I get the feeling that pop-culture says only volunteering "counts", which is kind of a downer for those of us who haven't got the time/energy/skills/transportation to do so.

I still haven't figured this out.  That is the problem.  I just have a drive inside of me to be an instrument of change and help people.

I was thinking that maybe I will prepare small bags of things in it like socks, toothpaste and a brush, some snacks... etc. for the homeless and keep them in the car and whenever I pass by someone in need I would give them the bag.  This is still very preliminary.

I don't know what other ideas are there also?

rous54

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2018, 11:33:48 am »
That's definitely a hard place to be in.

I struggle a lot with feeling like I've done 'enough', so one thing I do is track what I've been doing. That gives me a sense of what is actually true rather than relying on how I feel about it (which is sometimes in accurate). It also helps a lot in making sure I make progress on much bigger projects over time. I use a spreadsheet (detailed description over here)


Stuff I've done that is explicit volunteering that's helped other people:
  • Volunteer reviewing terms of service issues for an online site
  • Teach people technology skills and help them troubleshoot personal tech needs
  • Serve on the committee for community events so they happen (Pagan Pride, mostly in my case)
  • Helping an organization file for 501(c)3 status and figuring out paperwork/documentation
  • Give friends rides to appointments or the grocery store
  • Help friends with big organizational projects
  • Help friends in stressful situations (grieving or a new baby) coordinate help of other friends
  • Sharing info about Pagan and witchy topics here, through my website, and email


I really like the idea of keeping a journal.  I used to do so daily before I got the OCD and I think I can do that again now.  I would feel so much lighter after writing things down that have bothered me.  I can now also do that to keep a gratitude journal.

These are really nice options for me to think about.  I usually do a lot of helping when people need it.  For instance my grandma got into an accident the other day and have been taking her to the insurance company to claim the accident.  We have taken a few trips now.  Just to be clear, I don't count that as helping people because if I do not help my grandma who am I going to help.  So I am quite happy to do that for her.  But I also want to explore other ways for help.

Sefiru

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2018, 06:17:55 pm »
I was thinking that maybe I will prepare small bags of things in it like socks, toothpaste and a brush, some snacks... etc. for the homeless and keep them in the car and whenever I pass by someone in need I would give them the bag.  This is still very preliminary.

I don't know what other ideas are there also?

It's a good idea, though I was talking in a broader sense. "Giving material aid to the needy" is one of the first things that come to mind when talking about helping others, but what I'm trying to say is that it's just one way out of thousands to do so.

Another way to think about is who you can help: homeless people, children, the elderly, students, immigrants, veterans, people with disabilites, people with illnesses, people in your neighborhood, people in other countries, etc.

There are also all sorts of charitable organizations you might think of joining, from the Boys-and-Girls Club to the World Wildlife Fund.

Aisling

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2018, 08:10:33 pm »
I still haven't figured this out.  That is the problem.  I just have a drive inside of me to be an instrument of change and help people.

I was thinking that maybe I will prepare small bags of things in it like socks, toothpaste and a brush, some snacks... etc. for the homeless and keep them in the car and whenever I pass by someone in need I would give them the bag.  This is still very preliminary.

I don't know what other ideas are there also?

You might want to check to see if there is any kind of service coordination group in your area.  Where I live, the United Way runs a website that lists a wide range of volunteer opportunities.  If there's a similar resource in your area, it might be helpful in finding something that catches your interest. It may help to look at your other interests and see how you can link these to service work.  In my case, I gravitate toward service opportunities that are require creativity like Project Linus, involve animals, or are related to my spiritual path because those are things that appeal to me in general.   

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But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them."
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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2018, 01:37:40 am »
So how do you deal with this news?  I feel so sad for her and feel powerless in trying to do something because what if one day I get an illness that would eventually become fatal?

As Darkhawk said, and as I remember reading in either Sandman or the Discworld series somewhere--we all have a fatal illness called being human. Eventually we're all going to die. We have to make the most of it while we're alive, regardless of what we believe about what happens afterwards. If that's a problem you struggle a lot to deal with, therapy for grief-related issues might be helpful--especially in your situation with people close to you dying.

It's also an issue you can work through in your spirituality to some extent. Last year I had an intense UPG about my gods manifesting in the earthly world as a famous rock star. Like many famous rock stars, he died pretty young, in tragic circumstances. My own work has since involved examining that and what it says about my faith's approach to death. I've had to confront both the tragedy of his death and the social milieu around it--and the fact that he lived with it gracefully until the end and continued to very passionately and with great determination contribute to the world and shape his legacy until the eve of his death.

Mortality is something we're all going to have to deal with eventually, but many people do deal with it in constructive ways.
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rous54

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2018, 12:26:59 pm »
Another way to think about is who you can help: homeless people, children, the elderly, students, immigrants, veterans, people with disabilites, people with illnesses, people in your neighborhood, people in other countries, etc.


I will definitely do that.  I am finding ways to support them both materially and otherwise.  When I drive around looking for people who need people I am not only intending to give them materially, rather also support that someone out there is thinking of them (maybe this is a little grandiose of me so I will try it first and then I will report on how it is going).

I want to thank everyone for your support.  Since the original post I have been doing a lot of exploration and I came to the realization that what I would like to do now is to help strangers.  I am not sure I would like to do that through an organization, rather I prefer to do so through random acts of kindness to people.

I was also talking to a relative about our relative who is sick and I really feel bad for her but, although this might sound selfish, at the moment it is not me who has the cancer so it is the time for me to take advantage of my revelation to help people and go ahead and do it.

Again thanks for all your thoughtful support.

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2018, 02:16:14 am »
I am not sure I would like to do that through an organization, rather I prefer to do so through random acts of kindness to people.


Organizations gets stuff done and random is hard to keep up. If you get stuck, it might be helpful to find a local group with practice doing service just to get your momentum going. Soup kitchens and food pantries, for instance, are always looking for a hand, and then you get to be sure even in a short amount of time that you've concretely helped make a lot of people's days better.
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rous54

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2018, 05:21:35 am »
Organizations gets stuff done and random is hard to keep up. If you get stuck, it might be helpful to find a local group with practice doing service just to get your momentum going. Soup kitchens and food pantries, for instance, are always looking for a hand, and then you get to be sure even in a short amount of time that you've concretely helped make a lot of people's days better.

Well for me I prefer a decentralized way of working.  I do not trust organizations a lot.

rous54

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2018, 06:34:51 am »
Here is an update:

I went to a restaurant where you can buy meals for strangers.  I bought 4 meal vouchers for anyone who needs them and then I bought 2 more and gave them to needy people on the way back to the house.

The people who took my meals were grateful, but I was wondering if they trusted me that I am giving them worthy meals.  I was wondering what they thought of receiving the meals?

Valentine

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2018, 07:16:03 pm »
The people who took my meals were grateful, but I was wondering if they trusted me that I am giving them worthy meals.  I was wondering what they thought of receiving the meals?

Honestly, there's no way to know. You don't get to know.
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rous54

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2018, 06:18:10 am »
Honestly, there's no way to know. You don't get to know.

Thanks you are right.  But can you elaborate?

Thanks.

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2018, 08:08:19 am »
Thanks you are right.  But can you elaborate?

Thanks.

I think what Valentine means is that none of us are mind readers and we have to just go under assumptions of how others perceive us unless they tell us outright.

What I'd like to ask you (and you don't have to answer this, I just think it's worth you thinking about) is why it matters to you what they think about what you're doing. You say they expressed to you they were grateful, but that secretly you wondered if they trusted you. You also expressed a lack of trust for organizations, which in most cases are just a collection of people with shared goals who pool efforts to become something greater than what they can do individually. It might be worth your examining (again privately, you don't need to share with us) why trusting others and people trusting you is contentious in your life.

Anyway, on a different note- remember that helping others doesn't have to be just other people too. I greatly enjoy volunteering at my local SPCA where I'm a foster for cats and kittens to give them a break for the shelter, but I also sometimes help them out just by doing laundry (animals always need clean bedding). Even my garden can be seen by helping others in a way based on the number of wild critters that enjoy and use it.

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Re: Service to others and discouragement
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2018, 09:53:31 am »
I think what Valentine means is that none of us are mind readers and we have to just go under assumptions of how others perceive us unless they tell us outright.

What Noctua said.

I help somewhere around 60 people with questions every month at work. I often get a thank you, but I almost never get to find out what the information changed in their life or made better - maybe only every few months.

(I just got an email about one of those this morning, which made me think about coming back to this thread - but it's a rare thing, that's why it stands out.)

A lot of the time, I say a thing, and I don't know what changed because of it, if anything. And that's okay. If I'm being helpful to someone, then it is and should be about them. They're not obliged to tell me anything, or do a gratitude dance to express their appreciation, or share how they're feeling or private info about why they need help. (And honestly, if it's someone who really needs help or is having a hard time, they probably have a bunch of other things that need their time or attention)

I love the thank yous, and I love the stories when I do get to hear them - but they're not why I do the helping. I do the helping for its own sake, and because I care about people having access to resources. But once I've done it, I have to let it go, and let it be its own thing.
 
If I get to a point of feeling I need feedback that the helping is doing some good, sometimes I ask outright when it's not a burden ("If this helped, I'd love to know which bits were most useful so I can do more of that.") This works best with things like the Seeking site, or sometimes more involved posts here, where there's some direct contact the other person initiated.

Sometimes I go focus on doing a thing where I can see the difference it makes directly. For example, running an event, you can generally see if people are having a good time and how things worked, or review surveys after.

Or sometimes I go do a thing that has a determined end-goal where I can see that it's completed. Related to Noctua's comment, I have a friend who volunteers at her local SPCA - one of the things she likes about it is that it's a helpful task, but it's measurable and finite.

She goes in, cleans litter boxes and cages, and there's a point at which that's done for a while. Then she scritches cats, and goes home. Sometimes the "I did this helpful thing and I can see it's been done" is a thing my brain needs too. (This is part of why I track tasks pretty attentively.)
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