Why You Should Really Help Thy Neighbor!

“Help thy neighbor”?! I can already see your faces. No, I am not about to have a Bible talk with you. Here is what it is all about!

This week, I had such a hard time making (or better finding) time to write this blog post. Actually, this isn’t even the post I had planned to publish, but as always… Life happened! This week, we helped our neighbors.

Help Thy Neighbor. My mom helping our neighbors by walking their dogs while they are sick and cannot do it themselves.
Helping our neighbors

You see, they got sick and couldn’t take their dogs out for a walk. If you have pets, you know things can get a bit crazy at home when your little friends don’t get enough exercise… So my mom and I took their dogs walking almost every day. And these dogs get 2-mile walks!

We committed to helping them in addition to taking my grandparents to medical appointments, helping my sister with a big presentation, and doing our regular chores.

Do you help others?

I always feel like I should help people, but I often find myself hesitant or reluctant to do so. I worry that:

  • My help won’t be appreciated
  • I will do more harm than good
  • I will offend abled people by offering my help
  • I will be rejected
  • I will be judged…

The list goes on! But overall, it always goes back to my insecurities and how I feel. And sometimes, my insecurities are so strong that I prefer to stay quiet and not offer my help at all. Which is… crazy! I should be able to go past my doubts and fears, and offer a hand to those in need. After all, this is and should solely be about the people who need us. It is not about us helpers. Right?

Well, the strange and funny thing about all this is that, if we manage to get past our insecurities…

Helping thy neighbor is actually good for us!

In fact, it is scientifically proven that we benefit from this both physically and mentally.

Help thy neighbor. My coworker and I helping others by volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen
My coworkers and I bonding while volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen

People who volunteer, and therefore help others (strangers or people in their community) for free, get a sense of “purpose in life” that in turns helps them:

  • Reduce their risk of depression
  • Reduce their stress level
  • Improve their memory
  • Be more social, and so less likely to be isolated
  • Make healthier choices…

Researchers even gave this phenomenon a name and refer to it as “The Physiological Power of Altruism“.

So, even though we might be worried, we should help others! For them! For us!

However, it is important that we…

Do it for the right reasons!

Lately, I have seen a lot of people posting videos of themselves performing “random acts of kindness” on social media. While they are offering assistance to others, they are staging it for their own personal gain.

Volunteering, supporting, assisting, helping should happen…

Not because we will get some materialistic gain out of it…
Not because it will bring us more followers, recognition or fame…
Not only when we are in a crowd…
Not only when there are cameras…
Not only when we can film it and show it to the world…

But when others need us, and because we genuinely care.

How do you “Help Thy Neighbor”?

To help your community, you can:

  • Donate what you no longer use at home
  • Drop off some healthy goods at your local food bank
  • Volunteer

With your friends, neighbors, and family, the best way is to offer your help!
Don’t push it onto them, especially if they are people who are very independent or easily embarrassed.
Don’t help without being invited to do so, but rather ask. That way, you will assist them with what they need the most, and you won’t risk offending them or getting rejected.

My mom did just that with our neighbors! We didn’t show up at their house with soup, home remedies or groceries. My mom asked the neighbors what they needed from us. When they weren’t sure, she gave them a list of different things we could do to help, and they picked “walk the dogs”. They hadn’t thought about it, but when she offered, they realized that the dog walk was something they couldn’t do themselves. If she hadn’t asked, they might have felt that was something too silly to ask us.

Help Thy Neighbor. Me out on a walk with our neighbors' dogs. They needed our help.
Helping ourselves by helping our neighbors

So don’t be shy and help thy neighbor!

You don’t have to go big. You don’t have to be rich. You just need to be there for people who need a hand.

But… PLEASE…

Don’t let people down!

Don’t promise help that you cannot give!

For many people (I am one of them), it takes a lot to ask for assistance or even recognize that they need it in the first place. So if you offer someone your help and they welcome it, keep your word and assist them.

And if you need other ideas to feel better physically and emotionally, take a look at my daily routine.

Talk to you soon!