Some move rocks.
Others put up walls.
Some others build a church.
My two cents on the spirit of volunteerism is that it’s a cycle. When one has filled oneself with enough hunger to reach out to others, filling in the craving is when volunteerism starts. In doing so, there is self-fulfillment and further self-improvement. We’re better off than where we started in our solitary state. In this achieved synergy with others and in this betterment that is experienced, there is positive change. And as we dream big no matter how small we start out, its ripples will eventually reverberate all throughout, inducing a world that is, well, better.
I remember this line from Jesse, one of the protagonists of the movie Before Sunset (of which the 3rd installment, Before Midnight, is set for release this month in US theatres – When is it showing in Manila?), where he goes and says that Happiness is in the “doing”, and not really in the “getting what you want”. I say amen to that.
To demonstrate this concept further, a friend goes and shares the lipstick principle. Because we just love cosmetics as a medium of art, we derive happiness from the buying and wearing of lipsticks. We revel in the liberation and confidence brought by expression of self. When our lipsticks run out, we move on to buying another tube. With this, we continuously do.
When we engage ourselves in the things we’re passionate for, especially when it involves others, we cultivate more happiness. Helping out a kid with his classes, or cleaning up mangroves, derive an elevated level of happiness. It’s self-actualization, almost. With my lipstick, my happiness is linear. With the clean-up and the teaching which involves others, overall happiness is exponential: I feel happy and fulfilled, others are better off, the stimulus has sustainable positive spillovers.
I can go on and on about how volunteerism can make this world a better place. The gist is, happiness is the core of it. We all want to be happy.The world wants to be happy. Happiness takes on different forms and weight. When we transform the happy intentions of the words and thoughts of our lives into actions, we contribute to our own happiness. When we fill ourselves with that happiness, it overflows and spills over – like a pandemic, but on a positive note. So we essentially start with ourselves, start with our community, start with our country, start with our world.
On volunteering, let’s do what the Nike brand always reminds us: JUST DO IT.*An entry to the Hands On Manila Bloggers for Social Change initiative.