Volunteering your time, assistance or knowledge is by far the best gift you can give to yourself. Yes, you read it right, yourself, not others! Do you know why? Because we are wired in a way that allows us to feel the most self-fulfilled when we give kindness to others.

When I was growing up in the tiny village in former Soviet Union, on the territory of what is now known as Ukraine, the only measure of success, that I could imagine, had financial origins. Because we did not have any money and my parents were constantly indebted to others, I felt like having money would fix all the problems in the world for my young self and my family. I was always more optimistic than not and generally had a happy childhood, but it seemed like being able to buy more than one pair of shoes per season was all I was missing to make me absolutely happy. Well, maybe some extra pairs of jeans every now and again wouldn’t hurt either.

As the time went on, the desires started to grow in their prices. Mobile telephones, computers, vacations, but the money, or the lack of thereof, stayed the same. My parents did the best they could and they also had my younger two sisters to worry about. I knew I needed to start making money ASAP if I were to have all the things I so desperately felt I was lacking in my life. This motivation is partially what made me stay in the United States once I arrived and realized how opportune this beautiful country is. However, the years spent in the United States with the ability to buy all kinds of toys and trinkets (barring the RR Phantom, which I am still working on) made me realize that material things do not in themselves hold the power to make a person happy.

As money became more available to me, I started seeing that this ever-elusive desire to have money has been tricking me into thinking that being rich was my life goal, when in reality presence of money is just a small portion of it. You’ve made all the money you ever aspired to make, now what? You’ve seen the world, you bought all the things you wanted, are you happy? Unless, you are the lucky enlightened one, and have been giving to others all along, probably not..

You might argue that having money would make it easier to give, but the truth is that, in the universal set up, no amount of genuinely given help is ever too small. So to say that “I do not help others because I barely scrape by myself” is just another way of saying “I do not yet understand that I am hurting yourself by not helping others.”

The reason why I wanted to write this article is because I am trying to encourage myself to follow my own advice. I just finished reading a book where the topic of volunteering came up with all its benefits highlighted and above I just re-iterated what I read and cross-pollinated it with my own experiences. Honestly, I am still in the process of digesting the information myself but I already know that I cannot wait to see it manifest into real action soon. So, fly my little article into the world, next time I read you, I will know how good of a volunteer I have become!

Does anybody who comes across this self-encouragement letter have any volunteering success stories to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

And finally, to seal this post with a good intention, the most compelling success story will get a “Picture on the Boards” ($99 value) made and delivered within the United States free of charge (international winner will need to cover the shipment costs). Rules of engagement: must follow @queen_of_chi on Instagram, like and share this post with three friends by tagging them in your comment along with your success story, both in WordPress and on Instagram. The results will be announced on July 7th! Good luck – and remember to give!


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