Is Giving Back Selfish?

I'l be the first to admit, I always found volunteering to be hella dull. I would only do it to fulfill community service hours.

It wasn't until years later that I experienced an intense surge of all-consuming feel-good moments.

For me, these intense moments were wide and few,

Now, it is likely that they won't happen every time you volunteer (maybe you are lucky and they do). But, if they do, these moments will stay with you.

Let me explain... 

When you accomplish things for yourself, it feels incredible. 

The "king of the world" feeling is undeniable. 

It is a fast, explosive high, but...It disappears as soon as it comes.

You are constantly seeking the "king of the world" effect, again and again. A never ending cycle.

But, when you feel good by doing good, there is a  shift in your reality.  

A gradual high that stays with you, becomes part of you. It's a type of feeling that makes you re-evaluate your existence (It's absolutely bonkers).

This poses an interesting question:

Is giving simply an act for the self?

More on this later...

Now, I wasn't exactly jumping out of my bed with excitement at 7am to help the West Orlando Rotary Club build a ramp for one person. 

In hindsight, I would have been, as it turned out to be one of those moments .

There were moments when we all worked together in silence as we sat in complete concentration, in a trance, lost in our work. A meditative process that allowed our minds to be in the present moment.

We did something that we would have never done otherwise. We created and constructed something with our hands.

In a trance of building with our hands

In a trance of building with our hands

The trance continued..

The trance continued..

Karl and Gary experiencing the trance

Karl and Gary experiencing the trance

Even the 3-year is in a deep trance

Even the 3-year is in a deep trance

1 hour into our work, this tiny human peaks his head through the door. Jeremiah (the curious 3 year old) pops out to ask questions and dance on parts of our ramp.

None us expected to fall in love with him and his adorable lil’ Nikes. Jeremiah looked like he was having the time of his life. Playing outside for hours with constant playmates and attention.

Finally, the moment we had all been working towards. The ramp was complete and now Ms. Lilly could experience a safe exit to the outside world for the first time in years.

Dan helping Ms. Lilly down her new ramp

Dan helping Ms. Lilly down her new ramp

Her expression—a mix of calm-happiness and relief. Peace. 

Ms Lilly could now finally go outside and experience the breeze, the trees and the sky.

Like I said—a memorable day.

Not only did we bond with each other as friends, we also bonded with the older members. Sharing life stories and business advice

We still can’t stop talking about this day! Ms.Lilly and Jeremiah will stay in our brains forever.

That day was extremely memorable for us because it made us feel something. We were making a huge difference, but we also did it because it made us feel amazing.

Now back to the initial question...

Do we only help because it makes us feel good?

Is giving back ultimately an act for the self? 

Leave a comment if you agree or disagree with the question above.