I don’t like the word philanthropy. I really don’t. Maybe this word for me responds to the fact that I despise what I don’t understand (and I am pretty sure it stops here). What is really philanthropy?
I am lucky enough to speak Greek, so I can understand the two words that create this word. So, we have philos (which means friend) and anthropos (which means human). This means, we are genius now to understand that in Greek philanthropos is someone who is a friend of humans. I am so happy for him, but… what about the other guys? And why don’t we have a word that describes the other guys? Who are the other guys? Where do they live? If they are extremely poor, they can’t be philanthropists, they are the ones that receive it. (for some reason we can’t have both!) If they are everyday people, they at least don’t care about their fellow humans or if they are rich, they at least don’t care about others.
A philanthropist is a rich guy that helps the poor. When you think of a philanthropist, you do not think of a person that works with another for the second’s benefit. The difference is we need to work together. That’s why I think this word should pass in history. It has nothing to do with the future society, we as human race deserve it.
I have been interacting with people and animals all my life. What this behaviour taught me is that we are a part of an animal society, and the most ridiculous thing is to feel superior when you help someone. You are just in a different period of time with the other person that currently feels weak. I can learn from this to make myself better and maybe avoid some mistakes that could lead me to a similar situation. I can also ask for help when I feel weak for some reason or another, from people who do not feel superior than me in this period of their lives, they just love working with others. This helps to the one in need psychologically, you know, that’s why many people don’t ask for help. They feel ashamed for others’ people interaction to their problem.
I have made a list of what helping others have taught me so far about people and myself, and I am sure, this list will grow bigger as I grow older.
1) We all repeat a story in our minds. You do the same, I do the same. We repeat a story continuously, and this story becomes our reality in a small or big period of time. 3 years ago, I met a woman who lived alone. She had adopted a stray dog that followed her to her home. The woman didn’t know that the dog was pregnant, the dog gave birth to 5 puppies. Short after talking to her, I understood that the enemy was between her ears. She considered herself as lonely because she was unique and no one would understand her. I cannot imagine, how many years of her life she repeated the story to herself and made this story her reality. She would listen to no one that wanted to help her. She was very kind and educated, but that did not stop her from ruining her life. This woman was a life lesson for me. This period I was trapped in my own mind too, in a different way. Talking to her made me listen to myself, and deeply I understood that in reality I was talking to myself. She didn’t listen to me, but I did. I changed the narration I was saying and made a new one, a more positive one. The more positive narration led me to a more positive story. I change the narration regularly since then.
2) Read people’s behaviours and translate them in you life! Change! What a magic word I used in the last sentence of the previous paragraph, because of the kind lady that refused to change. The easier we change our mind about things, the easier we change our story. There is a myth that people with strong ego are the strong ones. Personally, I think this is a scam that makes both the person and the people around him suffer. If your previous behaviour doesn’t serve you anymore, quit it! Do whatever serves your happiness! It is impossible to be sure about your attitude, especially in your 20’s and 30’s, come on! Change! Write a whole book of your life, don’t read the first page all over again and again!
3) We don’t watch documentaries, we are documentaries. When you volunteer in a healthy way, you feel super excited! It gives you a positive energy, happiness and self respect. Yes, it is not about brag, it is about self esteem. When you are a person that experiences things on the road, you don’t need to watch documentaries about life, you are the hero of your own documentary. In my late 20’s, I was wrecked. I was lost, really I didn’t have the will to face my day. BUT. When I got to the road to help, I was my hero. Honestly, I wouldn’t watch TV, as long as people like me weren’t invited there.
4) We are a part of our tribe. When you get in touch with people from different backgrounds, you understand that you are a member of our tribe, our society that experiences things from one and only aspect. You are simply in a different period of life in comparison to the person whom you “help”. He is either younger or older than you. Basically, do you really know how you‘ll be when you are older? Are you sure about that? Maybe in your first years of your life you were lucky to have parents, but it was just luck. No one is superior in our tribe. Everyone knows things all the others don’t. Let people interact with you and take notes. That’s how you grow.
5) It is your duty to go, it is your duty to leave. This is the most important part for me. Helping is like the military. You don’t stay there forever. You go there, you listen, you breathe and you leave. Furthermore, it is very important to be careful as far as humans are concerned. Have you ever heard about soul vampires? Do whatever serves you always and forever. Helping is a circle, you come today, I will come tomorrow, someone else will be there the day after tomorrow. Don’t get frustrated and addicted in helping, because it is not healthy for your mental health. We need happy people, not overwhelmed and frustrated, always remember that, my friend.
In my late 20’s I was ready, after many failures, to finally embrace the real change in my life. In the meanwhile, helping others not only worked in favour of my karma, but also I had lifted myself by lifting others. Now I know my worth building self-esteem through the power of the community. That changed my life.
Everything that I mentioned about people can easily be translated into animals too. Basically it is even better. Help whatever breathes, but always remember the fifth part of our list. We want you to be happy. I will say it again, do whatever serves you to be happy, but don’t trap yourself in your own narration in life. We are a community, and we need you active here.