Action 57

I create a sense of purpose that results from this trauma experience; a survivor’s mission that nurtures my “will to live.” I make a “gift” of what I have learned to others. Be altruistic which is a selfless concern for the welfare of others. I have a motivation to help others without reward or recognition.

Useful Information

There is a strong link between enriching the lives of others and one’s own sense of self-worth, well-being and resilience. There is much benefit to the person who contributes to others. People who work for greater political and religious causes are happier and more positive about life. Such public commitment frees them from individual concerns.

When you open your heart to other people to listen and care about them, it changes the way you look at the world. Acts of altruism release “feel good hormones” called endorphins, and as noted, are described as a “helper’s high.”

“Do good—be good—our attitudes and beliefs often follow from our behaviors,

rather than precede them. If you engage in volunteer behaviors or other altruistic activities, you are likely to see yourself as a caring person.”

Quotable Quotes

“It is one of the most beneficial compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I want to write a new chapter. I want to be the author of my recovery.”

“Be prepared—I want to reduce the risk of my revictimization and help others.”

“I am like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.”

“I know I am feeling overwhelmed, but I have felt this way before and it always passes. I do not have to respond to my feelings. I am getting better at fighting off my depression and not giving into it. I refuse to be revictimized by my past. I can move on.”

A Holocaust survivor who grew up to become a human rights expert, observed:

“I knew I would never quite liberate myself from the past and that it would forever shape my life. But I also knew that I would not permit it to have a debilitating or destructive effect on the new life I was about to begin. My past would inspire my future and give it meaning.”

—Thomas Buergenthal, 2009

Action 58