The Light in Volunteerism: Power of Selfless Service

Photo by RDNE Stock project

The smallest act of selfless service can make a difference in someone’s life, thus influencing the world. Take the step now. Offer your hand without asking for anything back.

They say there’s no such thing as selflessness, that people often act on selfless service for selfish reasons veiled under altruism. For instance, people do charity claiming they do so out of pure intentions, that it’s their calling to help others without asking for anything in return. To a certain extent, this is true. They aren’t expecting the people they’re helping to do anything for them. But internally, these charitable people may subconsciously go through trouble because of their religious responsibilities.

To help others is what God asks of them and is a requirement for them to pass his judgment.

But does this make charity an evil deed?

Not necessarily – all this talk about altruism hinders people from acting on their desire to help. Instead of weighing whether one is genuinely selfless or selfishly satisfying their personal needs, perhaps, it’s time to consider what they’re doing more.

It’s the Thought That Counts

Often, it’s the kindness behind one’s actions that matters. It doesn’t matter how imperfect the act is if it’s done out of good intentions. Such belief is opposite to the debate about altruism, if one’s feeling of satisfaction is weighed more than their actions.

Ultimately, everybody will find themselves subjected to feeling satisfied when doing selfless service. But this shouldn’t immediately tarnish their intentions into selfishness. Once these feelings are acknowledged and not influenced by negative factors, these acts should still be considered selfless.

Helping others looks easy, but it takes much more than offering a hand.

People are also offering a part of themselves for others to consume. They’re allowing themselves to be exhausted and expended for the benefit of another. With selflessness defined as forsaking oneself for the interest of another, why shouldn’t be helping or volunteering out of one’s volition considered selfless service?

Why should this act be questioned and be tainted with assumptions of an ulterior motive?

The Greatest Selfless Service

One of the most consequential things people can provide is to serve others. To help without being asked or asking for anything in return is the greatest, most beautiful form of selfless service.

In author and volunteer Gary Lindberg’s Peace Corps Memoirs, he writes in recollection of the moments he shared with others as a volunteer in the 1960s. He starts the book from the moment he applied, his training, and what he did daily as part of the Peace Corps. While he doesn’t mention or allude to it, it’s easy to conclude that volunteering is no easy task. Yes, it can be fulfilling and considered a selfless service, but these factors don’t take away how helping others is, nonetheless, taxing.

It’s not the typical 9-to-5 manual labor, but volunteering still takes a toll on people’s well-being. Volunteering entails empathy whenever they’re within the community. It requires people to exert their physical strength and mental, emotional, and psychological capacity.

Volunteering isn’t only offering physical or financial assistance. Instead, it’s offering one’s heart and soul not for verbal praise or fame but because it’s the right thing to do. People can differentiate what’s right from wrong. They can take one look at a community and know if there’s anything amiss, providing assistance that radiates love that can’t be paid back.

The Self-Satisfaction Beyond Selflessness

When people volunteer, they don’t expect anything in return or fear they’ll be consumed once done. They don’t regret or act in remorse after helping; instead, they’re filled with happiness – the radiance that encourages them to do such selfless service again.

This is what makes volunteerism magnificent.

However, often, people can’t help but feel guilty whenever they’re filled with this happiness, this satisfaction. They believe entertaining these emotions will make their act selfish, and they’re only encouraging the thought of volunteering again to feel this catharsis.

People don’t have to be selfless to avoid selfishness. This feeling of fulfillment should be considered separate from selfishness. They don’t have to be associated with each other. People can feel satisfied and desire to experience such serene, blissful emotions without being selfish. Selfishness should only manifest when people expect another to provide them a trophy for their action, a reward to motivate them to act again – then selfless service becomes a reward system.

With people’s selfless service and the desire to help others, the purpose of their existence will be fulfilled. This ignites a sense of satisfaction from people, knowing that they’re doing something good and leading themselves down the path of altruism. Charity should be about love as much as volunteerism isn’t about rewards and consequences. As long as people do these without looking for anything in return, they practice sincere selflessness.

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