When your levels of self-esteem are low, it's hard to find the motivation to get up and get on with your life. You feel you don't merit having a good time and limit your own potential by thinking yourself unworthy. Self-esteem issues can happen for many reasons. Perhaps you have suffered the break-up of a relationship. Perhaps you have always been fed negative feedback from people around you. Perhaps - and this is more likely - you have been feeding yourself negativity for so long that you have begun to believe it. However, there are ways that you can build up your self esteem and volunteerism is one of the best for several reasons:

  • It makes you useful
  • It gives you a sense of achievement
  • It gives you purpose

Without purpose in life, people wake up every day with a sense of longing. Purpose is what makes people get out of bed in the morning and face the world. However, people with low self-esteem find it hard to get motivated. Their lack of self-worth takes away their incentive and the mind continually works on feeding the subconscious with negative messages. 

Reaching out a hand to volunteerCredit: Tumisu https://pixabay.com/en/volunteer-help-hand-man-charity-1636241/

How You Can Volunteer

There are many places where you can offer your services within your own community. If you are not sure where to start, ask in a public information office or Google "Volunteering" followed by your town name. Other places you can consider are:

  • Local Pet Shelters
  • Red Cross shops
  • Old People's Homes
  • Your Children's school
  • Soup Kitchens

If you apply to any one of these places as a volunteer, you will find that you don't need to put in full time. People understand that you have a living to earn and thus any help that you can give will be appreciated. Visit the facility, talk to the supervisor or the person who is responsible for staff hiring and try to show enthusiasm toward whatever cause it is that you are about to offer your services to. 

Having the Right Attitude

It is important that you approach volunteerism for all the right reasons. This isn't so that you can show off to friends about what a "do-gooder" you are. It should be because you want to do something worthwhile. You should never enter into voluntary activities with any expectations of your own. The whole idea of volunteerism is giving, rather than receiving. When I spoke to a young lady who volunteers at the local pet shelter, she explained. "If you go into a volunteer job with expectations of thanks and praise, then you are putting a price on your volunteerism and that doesn't work. The idea is that the reward you get is a natural process, rather than one that is connived." Thus, you shouldn't expect thanks. You shouldn't expect reward from other people. There is a very valid reason for this kind of approach, as she explained. "The reward I get is from the animals themselves. Not every animal will respond in the same way, but they begin to get to know you and trust you and that's a wonderful reward in itself."  It's the same with other kinds of volunteering. If you serve soup in a soup kitchen, don't expect gratitude. The reward comes when not expected.

How This Helps Self-Esteem

In a volunteer situation, you are putting your help into something worthwhile. In doing so, you are stepping away from negativity and giving yourself a purpose. People with purpose feel better about life because they feel they have something to contribute. Those with self-esteem issues may feel that their contribution toward life is limited. Therefore, the increase in self-worth that is gleaned from volunteerism helps those with self-esteem levels to learn new skills and to see their own worth in the actions that they take during volunteerism experiences.

It also helps because if your mind is filled with positive energy from what you are doing, you tend to put negative energy to one side. You are hardly likely to be thinking of negative things while dealing with the needs of a pet. You replace negative energy with positive energy and begin to feel better about who you are. 

How Volunteerism Helps Humility and Empathy Levels

It is quite possible that you have never been able to put yourself into the shoes of people less fortunate than yourself. When you do, it is humbling. You begin to see that people in dire circumstances don't waste their time - in general - on negative thoughts of self. They do have to think about self-survival, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to be introverted and introspective. People with low self-esteem tend to stay in this place of negativity and if your empathy levels are increased and you are able to feel humility, you tend not to be so introspective. That helps you to understand the world a little better and see that your lifestyle can be improved by looking at the world from another person's perspective. It opens up your ideas and helps you to step outside yourself. If also helps you to feel better about the person that you are.

What If I Am Not Confident Enough To Help?

Look out in your area for charity walks or events which involve other people as well as you. There are always people who are willing to help you to gain that confidence. When you work with old people or work with pets, you begin to realize that it isn't about your confidence levels. It's about having your heart in the right place and wanting to give something of yourself to others. If you have doubts about your confidence levels, work in the background. For example, you don't need to be confident to take dogs for walks. You don't need to be confident to work in the laundry of a homeless shelter. Tell the person who employs you that you are shy and it's likely that they will find you a job that you can do without the limelight being thrown on you or leaving you vulnerable to the public.

Raise Your Self-Esteem Levels by Trying

Volunteerism gives you something to think about that is positive. If you are accustomed to self-talk that is negative, this will add a new dimension to your life. Perhaps you are one of the people who find it difficult to express yourself. Volunteerism is very good at bringing out your confidence and teaching you to be able to do things you have not done before. You stop questioning your own value and concentrate on the needs of others. It replaces all of the negativity within your mind with a sense of achievement. The more you try, the better you get at it. Even if there are no charitable institutions near to where you live, volunteerism doesn't have to be within the confines of shelters or places like that. You can volunteer in your own community. Perhaps the old lady who lives next door hasn't had a visit for a while. Step out of your shell and visit her. Bake her a cake, but don't expect to do it for thanks. That old lady may have good reason to be difficult. Give her the cake, spend a little time with her and break the ice. Volunteerism is giving with no expectation of reward. However, when rewards happen all on their own, you begin to see your own value and your self-esteem level rises.