Think globally. Focus on the common good. Altruism is a veritable crusade against individualism, so it is logical to try to establish mutual support, a group dynamic. Meditate. Seeing beyond your personal problems is no easy task. But to get there, it is important to give yourself time to meditate. Giving yourself this time for reflection will allow you to refocus on what's essential.
Being altruistic means doing good around you on a regular basis in a selfless way, without looking for your own interest. Here are some ideas for how to be altruistic on a daily basis and make the happiness of others the most direct path to your own happiness (it doesn't have to be a grand gesture):
Become a sponsor. Donate to a humanitarian organization that works for a cause that is dear to your heart, maybe children's rights or women's rights. Commit to donating even just a few dollars per month to this association. Or volunteer your time. Even a few hours a month can be beneficial.
Practice compassion meditation. It will increase your propensity to be selfless. To do this, just find a quiet place where you can be alone, relax, sit up straight, and visualize the following: Imagine a mother taking care of her sick child. Share her emotion, her fears, her desire for another being (the child) to regain happiness. Let this feeling grow in you.
Put yourself in other people's shoes. One of your friends might have made an unpleasant comment about you or might have annoyed you for one reason or another. Well, just put yourself in her shoes. Try to feel what she is going through, her emotions, everything that explains the behavior that initially annoyed you. There is a saying, "You can't understand until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes." We tend to forget sometimes that not everyone is the same—others have their own way of living, of doing, of being. The surest way of learning to love someone is to understand them, so seek to accept others for who they are and where they are in their journey.
Make an anonymous donation! Your kindness doesn't have—shouldn't have—to be noticed. That's what makes your selfless act, well, selfless. What about slipping a ten-dollar bill into an envelope that reads, "This is an anonymous gift, have a nice day!" Leave the envelope in a prominent place, where it will not end up in a trash can.
Give up your spot. If you are in line, and you find that the person behind you is getting impatient, rather than becoming annoyed, offer them your spot. Even if they refuse, your offer might bring a change in attitude.
Pay compliments. When you say nice things to other people, you will feel better, the other person will feel better, and there is a good chance that their attitude will become more positive, which will in turn affect others'. In short, everyone is happy!
Leave love notes. Write "You are wonderful" on a Post-it note, and stick it on the bathroom mirror at home, in a café, or any other public place. I love this one; when I imagine myself doing it, it makes me particularly happy. You could also write a sweet word on a small piece of paper, and put either in someone's pocket, in their bag, or under their pillow.
Care for the homeless. Offer to buy a homeless person something at the bakery, and ask them what they prefer.
Offer to help at home—with meal preparation and the dishes, with babysitting a younger sibling. Give your parents some time to rest. Bake a cake, a pie, pancakes, and treat your parents to breakfast in bed.
Shower your grandparents with love. Send a little surprise to your grandparents by mail, even, and especially, if it's not their birthday or another special occasion. Send them drawings or pictures. Give them a phone call! They'll be so happy.
Be altruistic on the street. Offer help to someone who seems to be in trouble on the street. This could consist of carrying the groceries of an elderly person, helping a tourist to find his way, helping a person to get on the bus or a disabled person to cross the street.
Journal. The power of words is amazing. When I write in my journal about selflessness and loving other people, I feel much lighter and more joyful after. Keep a journal that includes your thoughts about kind actions toward others.
Affirmations adapted from the words of Shirley Chisholm, Dorothy Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Oprah Winfrey, Marian Wright Edelman, and Mae Jemison.
"I am, I was, and always will be a catalyst for change."
"I use myself and anything I can touch to work for justice and freedom."
"I invest in the human soul because it's a diamond in the rough."
"I lift other people higher."
"I don't rain on other people's dreams."
"I define myself for myself, so I won't be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive."
"I use my imagination, creativity, and curiosity to make the world a better place."
Find a role model. Being selfless is not always pleasant. Putting the needs of others before your own needs is usually worth it, but it can be extremely difficult at times to act in the interests of someone else when you, too, have needs to meet. To do this, follow the example of selfless people you admire to help you make the right choices. There are so many powerful, strong Black women for you to emulate. Don't just look for famous people to admire. Admire the single mother with three kids who works a full-time job too. When you can see how hard it is to be remarkable, you gain a better understanding of what it takes to change the world. Remember, you're already remarkable. It's just difficult sometimes.
A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics
M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls.
“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book
#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers.
Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.
Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.
Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.
Badass Black Girl helps you to:
Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations
Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling
Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self