We often help others without expecting anything in return. We help family, friends, animals, the poor, the hungry, the ill, or just someone who doesn’t need help, but you can make their life easier.
Throughout my travels, I’ve witnessed a level of altruism that is hard to put into words. Basically, every single one of my trips depended on the kindness of others. So why don’t I listen to all the danger warnings within my environment?
Religion and faith
When I’m asked if I’m religious, I always find it a hard question to answer. Yes, I am religious. What do I believe in? It doesn’t have a name, followers or any sort of written guideline. This is a religion that I built, practiced and adjusted according to my current beliefs. Others say I don’t have a God, but I do. It just doesn’t have a gender, a form or a face. Because it’s not important. The only thing that matters is that this thing makes me believe in the good in people and in the world.
We could start an argument about big the risks are when I get into a stranger’s car. Every religion has its points that are easy to attack. None of them is better or worse than others. There are people who battle cancer with faith instead of the hospital, or they marry total strangers, or they sacrifice animals. For me, faith is nothing but a tool that can be used for good or for bad. The only question is, which approach feels closer to us?
This is not about convincing someone that God exists, or that we all need to have a God. For the thousandth time: you know what is best for you. There is no such thing as only one followed and acceptable religion because even the traditional and most well-known beliefs vary within the same community. I have worked with plenty of scientists in Oxford who lived by the guidelines of the Bible and practiced their faith in the church, yet they worked in science. These two are complementary, not opposites. Where science fails, religion can still work.
When you honestly help someone, who do you really help? Them or yourself? It is one of the greatest emotions a human can experience when we help one another. In Peru, I accompanied an old, blind lady who was going to the bus station. I walked her over the bridge, into the station, bought her a ticket and put her on the bus. She said she has done this trip millions of times, so she did not need my help, but I offered anyway and she happily accepted it. So we got to share our lives with each other. She didn’t need to watch her step, just listen to my voice, and tell me about her life.
We both won. I felt great about helping her – it was the right thing to do – and she learnt something about the world that she will never be able to see.
I dislike using quotes because many misuses them without doing the research if that person ever said that, and the one I’m about to use is also controversial as many say Gandhi never said it, but still, I would love to share it:
”Be the change you want to see in the world.”
It doesn’t matter who said it. The message that it carries is breathtaking and I live strictly by it. Why do I pick up one piece of rubbish on the street and throw it out? Why do I feed only one homeless man for a year? Why do I only make a one-time donation of five dollars to a cause I like? Because that one piece of rubbish in the trash won’t make the street clean, but one less plastic ruins the view of nature, one fewer person struggles for food every day, and maybe I helped saved an animal species by giving only five dollars.
”Be the change you want to see in the world.”
When I was volunteering on a farm in Honduras – in the middle of extreme poverty – I learnt about kindness and its limitless powers. Honduras is the poorest country in Central America. I saw the locals building houses from mud, living without running or clean water, and using one light bulb in the entire house to light up one room at a time. They have no healthcare and only get medication from missionaries once every few years. Yet, I have never seen so much care and giving before. They shared everything with me they could
I never had to ask for anything, it was a given. Free food, water, rides, fruits, you name it, I got it. Why are they so open to share? Why do Europeans use ”I” more often than ”we”?
If you do good, you get good
Doing good in itself should be more than enough. Those who follow me on Facebook read about a Mexican man, who took me out for dinner, showed me the city and asked for nothing in exchange. When I asked him why is he so kind to me, he said because good people deserve to be helped, even if they don’t need it. He also added that because he has a daughter my age, he believes in the circle of kindness. If he is nice to me, others will be nice to his daughter.
He believed in the same cycle as I do.
People are always watching. The best teaching is to be the example. We can’t tell people how they should live their lives. I personally reject unwanted suggestions about the philosophy of my life. If I didn’t ask for it, it is because I don’t think you are the person who is qualified to advise. If I see you are the kind of person I one day hope to become, I will definitely listen to what you have to say. So to conclude, to help others, I just need to be the best I can be to show them what is possible. This is the core principle behind My Seven Worlds.
Of course, I don’t improve without an example and I wasn’t born being where I am now. I didn’t learn to pick up rubbish from the street from myself. I didn’t stop tearing leaves of trees, help the old lady with shopping bags, hold a blind person’s hand and help someone who falls on the street by myself. I could carry on this list forever, but all the changes I made in myself boil down to seeing an example and copying it. I saw how others help, communicate, love and share. I would love to thank all the people who taught me how to be a better person.
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