How do you make a difference for others? Or do you focus only on your own needs?


This blog is inspired by this picture. It brought tears to my eyes and it tugs at my heart strings every time I see it.  It makes me want to contribute, to make a difference for someone else – either to make their moment a little bit better or to help out where support is needed.

I call it ‘community effort’ and I used to challenge my kids to do something – every day – to help someone else.

It means having an awareness for the people and circumstances around you.  When I’m at the grocery store, I often move the grocery carts into a line so they are not in the way of cars trying to pass. (No, I don’t move every cart – just the section where I return my cart!).

There are so many ways we can contribute to others:

  • Helping an elderly person carry their groceries
  • Calling someone to let them know you are thinking of them
  • Helping an elderly neighbour with snow shovelling or taking out their garbage
  • Bringing a friend in need, a home cooked meal
  • Helping someone move
  • Holding a door open for someone else to walk through
  • Volunteering – there are countless options

I have often found, that when our circumstances aren’t at their best and we feel life is tough, then that is the time to go and help someone in need. It helps to redirect your focus and you get to brighten someone else’s day at the same time.

To me, it’s all about perspective. My life is busy and demanding – I have specific goals I want to achieve so I set up my schedule to be able to do that.  It is a choice to be busy. I do include my relationships as a priority and I also put aside a percentage of my time to try to make a difference for others. That means I schedule in time for what’s important and I am flexible where I can, to help out.

I used to give too much – to the point that my needs were rarely met as I always put them on the back burner. I would get upset if someone did not appreciate my good intentions.  I never bothered to determine if what I was offering was something they actually wanted or needed.

I had to take a step back and a good friend told me that there needs to be a mutual giving in every relationship. Not one-sided where one takes and one gives.  So I learned to assess before I gave of my time or my energy.

Now I give, from a different perspective. It’s not to gain approval and acceptance from others like it was in the earlier days. It is using my unique skills and talents to assist someone who wants what I have to offer and accepting the same from them.  It is a mutual sharing, helping and appreciating, in a relationship based on mutual respect.

And of course – it is also the unexpected random acts of kindness.

So, what’s your contribution to others?