Compassion in Action:
9 Simple Ways to Serve Others
from our Angel Messenger Creative Team
Giving is about being selfless and compassionate, but it can actually be very beneficial to both the giver and the receiver. So, if you’d like to serve others in a meaningful way, keep reading for motivating and inspiring ideas.
You can serve others throughout the entire year. Every year leading up to the holidays, we’re all encouraged to give – and not just Christmas presents to friends and family. We’re reminded to extend our generosity to those in need, both in our local communities, as well as the world over.
Unfortunately, once the new year begins, our giving mode slows down, and we start to focus on other things. And that’s too bad because as research shows “altruism is hardwired in the brain – and it’s pleasurable.” So, why not give and receive happiness all year long?
Don’t give out of guilt. In the past, you may have volunteered or made financial contributions out of guilt and due to peer pressure. But neither guilt nor pressure is a good motive for being compassionate and generous.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t serve others. It just indicates that you should try to become more self-aware and figure out why you feel guilty or pressured. Instead of giving out of guilt, or not giving at all, try to address these blocks. This way, you can heal yourself and serve others freely and joyfully.
And when you’re ready to start serving, here are nine easy ways to do so.
- Empower people to solve their own problems
If a friend or family member is struggling with a certain issue, it’s easy to feel responsible and try to solve it for them. We often do this with the best of intentions. We hate to see others suffering and we want to make things better. But instead of taking over, try to empower them to solve their own problems.
Remind them that they have the answers and the strength within to face problems. You can do so with advice, emotional support, be present with them and so much more. It will give them a stronger sense of self, which is a wonderful way to serve others.
When people we know and love come to us with their pain and suffering, we may think they’re coming to us for answers. But a lot of the time, people just need someone to talk to. Being able to confide, vent and share is hugely important for people as they navigate and process difficult emotions and psychological issues.
In this case, the best way to serve others is to simply be that person who listens. To you, it might not feel like you’re doing much. To them? You’re a lifesaver!
- Remember to take care of yourself
It might seem contradictory or counterintuitive to focus on yourself when it’s time to serve others. But the better we are at loving ourselves, the better we are at giving love to others.
What’s more, the more love you cultivate within yourself, the more love you have to share. We all know that we can’t help others when our own well is dry, but we still encounter feelings of guilt or unworthiness when we take time for ourselves.
If that’s the case, try to think of a doctor who doesn’t take care of himself for the sake of his patients. Would you want a sick or sleep-deprived surgeon operating on you? Probably not! When people take care of us, we want them to be strong and well. That’s why taking care of yourself is the best way to serve others.
- Think local
The exotic and exciting nature of missionary trips can make foreign service seem more attractive than helping out in our local communities. But there’s probably a lot of good you can do right where you are.
Can you help your neighbors shovel their walkways and driveways? Perhaps your elder neighbor would like some company. There’s nothing showy about this, but it sure is giving.
Finally, you can serve others both before and after disaster strikes. Lodging, food, and clothing are often the best way to help out. In fact, when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, best-selling author Brené Brown asked people to donate underwear. Was it glamorous? Not really, but it’s exactly what people needed.
- Align your service with your values
There are so many meaningful ways to serve others – and not just people! So, one of the best ways to get involved and make a positive impact is to find a charity or cause that aligns with your own values.
You can figure this out by paying attention to what lights you up, as well as what makes you angry. Is it animal rights, women’s rights, fast fashion, child labor, refugees, safer cosmetics, or something else?
- Donate blood
It’s easy to think that we’re all separate and isolated from one another, but underneath our identities and ego’s, we’re all connected. And when we donate blood, we’re reminded of this interconnectedness and sameness.
- Mentor, teach and tutor
Ask yourself what you’re good at. Chances are, it’s something you can share with others. You could mentor young adults. You could teach basic life skills to refugees who need to resettle in a new and strange place. You can even tutor students and instill in them a sense of pride and accomplishment as they become more adept in their studies.
- Don’t set the intention to “help”
In an interview with Marie Forleo, Big Magic author, Elizabeth Gilbert, stressed that she didn’t set out to help people with her writing. Instead, she just did what she loved. In the end, it was her love, rather than a lofty goal to “help”, which really helped others.
But this isn’t true for Elizabeth Gilbert alone, so many phenomenal artists didn’t set out to save people. They set out to create art and their output inspires and uplifts others. And we can do the same.
When it comes time to serving others, do what you love and do it with love. This is far more powerful than any “help” you can give.
- Accept donations instead of gifts
Newly-married couples are starting to ask their friends and family to donate to a charity rather than to give gifts. And this is something we can all do, whether we’re getting married or not.
Holidays, birthdays and personal achievements are all marked with gift-giving. So, why not ask people to join you in donating to a cause of your choice?
Anyone can turn their compassion into action and serve others in a meaningful way. And whenever you do, be prepared to feel super happy and to watch this happiness spread like wildfire.
Much Love & Angel Blessings,
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