Using PHILANTHROPY to Build Self-Confidence by Nina

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I think one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that life is supposed to be easy, because it most certainly is not. We constantly encounter greed, mean people, stressful obstacles, challenging situations, piles of bills, hectic work schedules, and that is just some of the adversity we face.  


So how, when faced with such adversity, do we live happy and fulfilled lives?


The answer is simple: gratitude.


Yes, there are other things that give our lives meaning and purpose; but at the core of all those things is the notion of gratitude, feeling appreciative of what is around us and more importantly - what is in front of us.


Before I go into the ways we cultivate gratitude, I first want to talk a little more about WHY we should make above-and-beyond efforts to instill gratitude and appreciation in our lives. As humans, we are holistic beings; we have these amazing physical bodies that need exercise and sustenance, but we also possess this conscious that requires equal TLC to our physical presence. When we practice infusing appreciation into our daily lives, we are providing nourishment for the soul. You hear the phrase “Attitude is everything,” and it’s so true. There are many studies and experiments that prove a positive mental outlook benefits our physical well-being. So, when working on keeping our selves healthy, it’s essential that we create a comprehensive wellness plan that also makes our mental and emotional health as much a priority as our physical health.


Being grateful makes us feel good, and there are so many ways to love the world around you. Personally, nothing makes me feel better than volunteering. It is amazing to know I can spend my time helping other people through service. What’s more, Cleveland is truly a caring city. There are so many excellent nonprofits looking for volunteers, I guarantee there is one that will resonate with your interests. And there isn’t one particular way to volunteer: you can have conversations, go on service trips, organize community events, write impassioned letters for good causes, teach people, perform your art; there are infinite ways to make a difference in the world around you.


Another way to attract this goodness in your life is to take a pause and appreciate what is around you. Most days we are so busy that we forget to “stop and smell the flowers;” when we should consider how those flowers are these wondrous, vibrant, living things that we get the pleasure of walking by every day. Soak up the beauty of everything around you: people’s smiles, the seasons, cool urban architecture, thought-provoking movies, catching up with friends; there is beauty in the nuances of our daily life. Feeling stuck on how to begin infusing appreciation into everything you do? Try starting with a gratitude journal! Go to the store and find the journal that speaks to you the most, then take time out of each day to write down a few things you are grateful for as well as a couple items you love about yourself. You want to make this effort something you do as part of your daily routine, as that will help make it a habit.


My final tip is to take time out of your schedule to check in with the coolest person you know: YOURSELF. How are you emotionally feeling? Is this a week you need to take some extra time to meditate or treat yourself with ice cream or write down an extra item you love about yourself in your gratitude journal? Or maybe this is a week where you are feelin’ yourself, and in which case you want to throw in an extra living room dance party or volunteer shift? However you are feeling, the key is to make sure you are connecting with yourself and listening to your emotional needs.


Take care of yourself both inside and out, because you’re worth it.

Thanks for taking time to read this, all you Empowered & Poised dynamos!  And make sure to connect with me via Facebook or email ( to discuss volunteer opportunities, journaling, living room dance parties, or anything in between!