We all need to feel that who we are and what we do matters. Having a purpose can help us through tough times as well as make the good times feel even better by giving us something to focus on outside of our own challenges. Making a contribution allows us to feel connected to something larger than ourselves and is one way of building our resilience and feelings of appreciation. This is true throughout our life, including during school and into retirement.
Appreciation is a two-way street: we feel good when we are appreciated, but also when we appreciate others. There are so many ways to contribute to people and places that can help us feel fulfilled. Volunteering for a cause that is close to your heart, coaching children in sports or camps, or mentoring others who may be experiencing something that you went through are all ways to give back and provide support.
On page 14 of the free resource, Plan for Resilience, there is an activity that helps you think about the various ways you can provide and receive support with various everyday activities and responsibilities.
For many of us, it may sometimes seem like we are alone and struggling to find support. Other times it may seem like we have more support than we really want or need. Helping others in their time of need expands the number of people who may be willing to help us when we need it. Conversely, allowing others to be supportive to you (even when you don't really want it), is sometimes the greatest gift you can give. It is the gift of allowing others to have purpose and feel appreciated.