Everything we do is ultimately selfish – we always act in our own best perceived interest. This sounds bad, but hey, it’s true, isn’t it? And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Eckhart Tolle refers to assisting others as “enlightened selfishness” – when we help others in return for the good feelings that arise.
There is a certain power behind giving, volunteering, helping and mentoring. In the world we live in, we are surrounded by messages that we need to consume to be happy. We are constantly living in lack, trying to get the next best thing. When we give, we are turn this around – to have something to give implies abundance and completeness. It breaks the silly consumer-craving cycle the advertising world perpetuates around us.
I used to volunteer profusely in college – in addition to making me feel good and stroking my ego, it also put things in perspective. It made my problems seem insignificant, and it helped me to let go of a lot of the problems I was holding on to.