I’ve always known since I was 20, that volunteering is an important part of life.
I see how so many people only give with a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude. And want money, fame, recognition, or something that makes it ‘worth their effort’. Volunteers are not concerned with this.
I’ve been volunteering my time and effort for 3 years, helping those who are dealing with PTSD and Complex PTSD, abuse and complex trauma survivors, via my website, blog and social media work.
I started volunteering at a food bank charity several months ago and it’s already somewhere I feel makes a difference to those in need. They are diverse group of people I volunteer with and I have spent time talking with some, listening to their life problems and offering a compassionate ear. Being someone who listens, non judgmentally. Most of the volunteers have some level of issues occurring. Such is life.
Last week, a woman was withdrawn and quiet and not being her normal self. As I am someone who subconsciously learns people’s behaviours, and picks up on people’s emotions etc… I noticed she was not okay, where others didn’t. I started a conversation and it led to telling me her stresses and her being emotional and in tears. I let her talk, and validated her stresses and worries, which were mostly financial, were valid and understandable. We had hugs and she said she felt better being able to release some tears and someone listening and not being told to just ‘be positive’.
I barely know this woman, but what I was able to offer her, was what she needed. And she was glad I noticed her need. This led to a conversation with others who joined in, where it was discussed how emotions are okay and bottling them up, isn’t healthy. How it’s okay to not be okay, and reach out for help. It was a good conversation, with a good outcomes.
The volunteering group are nice, down to earth people. Some are huggy people and they offer me hugs and have accepted me into their group. And for that I am thankful.
They all have this sense of knowing, that people in need, need help. They have that light within their souls. And are willing to offer their time, love and effort, to the people we help, and to the volunteers themselves.
I have come to realise, the volunteers need help and love, as much as the people we serve who come in for the food we offer. We talk with the people who come for the food too, and offer reassuring words and comfort. Some stay and have a coffee and a chat and I can see with some of them, this is desperately needed too. Just to be able to talk and feel they are wanted and have someone to talk to.
I feel so thankful to be a part of this volunteering and all it encompasses.
I didn’t start volunteering, to improve my post traumatic growth, or for any therapeutic needs, or for any self serving needs ….. I started volunteering because I know within me it is needed and helping others in need, is within my soul.
I did not realise, all it would lead to, or who would need help. Or the outcomes of that, of which I benefit too. It does help me, helps my post traumatic growth to serve/help others and to be involved in a needed cause, and be around kind, compassionate people.