How to Find Fulfilment in Giving Back – Edwin C

In recognition of the International Day of Charity this week I want to share with you guys one of the things I have been exploring personally in my journey for fulfilment and that is finding fulfilment through giving! Before we go into that let me give you a bit more background about what the International Day of Charity is. This is a relatively new day that has been set up by the UN and has been observed on the 5th September every year since 2012 and its main purpose is to raise awareness and provide a common platform for charity related activities all over the world for individuals, charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organizations. And this day is a reminder to ourselves supporting others and their causes uplifts our community as we strive to make the world become a better place for all of us!

Now back to fulfilment. I find that one of the biggest chasms in life or one of its most elusive goals is finding fulfilment. And if you’re like me the search never seems to end. The moment you think you have figured it out, it slips away from you leaving you scratching your head and wondering whether or not you actually ever got close to achieving it. So that we are all on the same page when I say fulfilment, I mean the feeling of satisfaction and contentment in achieving something (or even getting closer to achieving something) in life.

Why is fulfilment so important in life? I find that without fulfilment life almost feels meaningless, like whatever I do has no reason and what I have done so far really doesn’t mean that much. Sure, I can find enjoyment at some things in life, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy anything, there are lots of things I enjoy and like doing.

However, when that thing I am doing/enjoying is over I will eventually get that “something is missing” feeling. If you find that you get that feeling sometimes too then maybe what is missing in your life may just be fulfilment.

So how do you find fulfilment? I found it through lots of self-reflection; figuring out what makes me happy, remembering what the most fulfilling moments of my life have been so far and what things in life scared me the most. I came up with the conclusion that for me to find fulfilment I wanted to be someone that mattered, someone that made a difference in the lives of others. Because what would make me happy is to know that I meant something and what scared me the most was that I meant nothing at all. To do this I had to do something for someone else, to make a positive impact on someone’s life. I decided I wanted to look into how I could support a charity. This is just my personal conclusion and everybody will have their own conclusion which may be the same or be something different however if you are uncertain as to how you would achieve your own personal fulfilment I would say try giving a charitable cause a go and see how it makes you feel.
You never know because you might find your true calling or at the very least you will learn a little bit about yourself when you do something you haven’t usually done before.

Supporting a charitable cause might sound a bit daunting and a lot of commitment. It might even sound like an action of world changing proportions. Or you might even be sceptical as to whether doing something like this will have an impact at all. These are all valid concerns because I have also pondered these questions myself. And my philosophical reasoning to counter these questions is a firm belief of the butterfly effect and the saying “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. All big actions are built up from smaller actions and these smaller actions have the possibility of creating larger effects later down the line. What I mean is that if I do something now – no matter how small – if my actions can have an impact now then later down the line it will help build to making a bigger impact on a larger scale. So, if having an impact is your main worry, I would say don’t worry too much about it because if you can make someone else’s life a little bit better now, later down the line this action you made may have an unexpectedly larger impact on the world somewhere else. If effort is your main concern because doing something charitable can be very time consuming, I would have to agree with you because it can be but it can also be very quick and simple to do too!

If you’re still with me and really want to consider a way to contribute to a charitable cause you can do it one of three ways and each way will make a different impact! I will cover what these ways are and what the pros and cons of each approach are:

1. You can donate money or resources to a cause
+ This is the least time-consuming way of helping
+ Gives resources to those who need it to focus their energy to the execution of the cause
–  You have no control over how the resources are used

–  Might be less fulfilling because you won’t get to see the impact first hand

2. You can donate your time

+ Gets you physically involved in the execution of the cause
+ Can feel more fulfilling because you can see the impact in person
+ Can make an impact if you do not have any money or resources to spare
–  You might still not be able to control what you actually do
–  There might be constraints making it difficult to help due to inadequate resources

–  Most time commitment from all the options

3. You can help raise awareness of your cause
+ Doesn’t require any resources
+ May not be that time consuming
+ Helps influence more people to contribute
–  Might be less fulfilling because you won’t get to see the impact first hand
–  Will require you to use your personal networks and some people are uncomfortable with that

–  May be hard to influence people into contributing if you are not doing so yourself

 

Conclusion

And there you are! Three ways in which you can help contribute by giving. I know that it may not be for everybody but if you are looking for fulfilment and don’t know where to start, I would recommend that you give one of these methods a try and see how you feel coming out of a charitable experience, you might like it!  Try picking a cause that speaks to you; it doesn’t need to be a cause of grandeur such as preventing the ice caps from melting by taking on the oil companies. It can be something small or personal such spending some time with the elderly because they remind you of your grandparents or going to a beach to pick up litter to prevent injury or set an example. If it means something to you and you think it can make the world a better or happier place for someone else too, then go and try give it a shot because your effort makes a difference. Leave me a comment with your experience or if you have any questions you want to ask me and I would love to chat to you about it! And most importantly of all have a good Fk’ing time doing it!

 

– Edwin Chan.

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