HM: Thank u for the funny post, Mags and for changing the moods of those who’re upset by the burdens of life…U made their day
Me: That’s why we all need community, so we can lift each other to our greatest heights! ♥
HM: Perfectly said
The above is a conversation that was sparked by an uplifting and funny post I shared in a Facebook Group I am active in. It is my genuine belief that helping each other is what is going to help us reach our true potential. In fact, I feel pretty confident that the whole SwanWaters team will give you are resounding YES! in answer to the question if helping others is the key to healing. Helping others is at the core of our organization.
We noticed that helping each other was propelling our own healing forward. It was that healing we wanted to share with others. The healing that comes from helping. There is a reason we have included ‘each other’ in our very mission statement:
We bring together people recovering from emotionally abusive relationships, to provide each other with care and support, and maintain a virtual community where all feel safe, validated and loved on the journey to healing.
All of the team members have experienced this. Our drive to help others (through our writing and interaction) has been instrumental in our own recovery.
Reframing Your Story to Benefit Fellow-Survivors
Every article I write includes some of my own experiences. Although it can be difficult to go through my memories to find the best examples, it is also a great way to process. Finding the right way to tell my story to communicate a point, or help someone figure out what is happening with them… it always gives me some new insight, some new angle I hadn’t considered yet.
I am sure you will find that interacting within our community of survivors makes you feel that too. Engaging in conversation with your fellow-survivors at various stages of their personal journey of healing, will aid your recovery in a way that only reading, or only venting just cannot accomplish.
Helping Is Wired In: It Makes You Happier
“Much work has been done by researchers such as Stephen Post and Dr. Elizabeth W. Dunn to verify the idea that giving things away and helping others has a significant positive effect on our happiness. It would seem that psychologically, helping others is built into us.” Stu Luminos
When I post articles and forum posts to SwanWaters, especially about topics that are still quite raw for me, my heart does a little jump for joy when I get notified that I have a response. It is the feeling that you are not alone, that someone is reaching out to you and connecting to the emotion you poured out.
Do you recognize that feeling? I think we all get that. We want to feel connected, validated and supported. All things we were denied when targeted by our abuser.
To be able to give other people that sense of validation and support is wonderful. Giving is truly is the best path to receiving.
Helping Builds Relationships and Trust
I know it can be a little overwhelming to jump in. I felt for a while that I was too green to make any useful contributions to the discussions my fellow team mates were having. There is no such thing. We all have experiences and insights that matter. Sometimes even just asking follow-up questions can help, or asking someone how their story relates to yours. If you cannot quite connect the dots, perhaps other survivors can. That too is contributing to their learning, processing and healing.
Most of my closest friends, my family of choice, are people who I have met on my healing journey. They are the people I have shared my story with. Fellow Survivors who helped me with my healing, while I helped them with theirs.
When we help and support each other, we build trust and forge friendships. It connects us.
Helping Lifts Us All
The give and take of a support community is one that creates a real upward spiral. By helping others, we ultimately also help ourselves. After all, in order to be the wind beneath someone’s wings, lifting them to new heights, we too need rise up. Or in a less poetic wording:
“On a neurobiological level, this research pinpoints specific ways that when you help others, you’re also helping yourself. The rewards of giving and receiving social support creates the ultimate win-win situation. When someone in need receives help, he or she benefits directly from the social support; simultaneously, the giver benefits in specific brain regions associated with stress, reward, and caregiving.” Christopher Bergland
Of course that does not mean you should always only be providing help, you should definitely also ask (and accept) the help from others.
After all, don’t you want them to experience the benefit of helping? 😉
Are you ready to jump in? Join our community of survivors today!