More Than Words: The Feelings Which Any Volunteer Can Relate To

Have you ever had the feeling that you cannot describe how you feel or what you experienced, as if there is no word which could describe your state, feeling or thought perfectly? Have you ever found yourself in the situation when you had to rephrase yourself for a couple of times so that to be explicitly understood? Well, there are many of those who feel the same struggle. And there are also those who try to solve it. Across the languages and cultures, there are certain words – bizarre and astonishing words – which are able transfer the entire feeling.  The ones below are those that might come in handy for the ones with the heart of a volunteer.

Look closely. While you might not know the meaning, I am sure it will be easy for you to relate to it – and recall the day when you might have needed this exact word.

The moment when you forget you are volunteering to help change lives because it’s changing yours


Origin: Modern Greek

Meaning: the soul, creativity, or love put into something, the essence of yourself that is put into work.

The given word depicts love of contribution to a certain cause and the efforts put into a certain work that it feels as if you’ve put a part of your soul and heart into it. The concept explains a great passion which some work was made with.  A tender attitude to a flower as you grow it, the emotions you put into the song or the painting, the good vibes and goodwill you are share with others when you volunteer – this is meraki.


Origin: Latin (from “melior”  meaning “better”)

Meaning: the belief that the world becomes a better place and that the humans have power to improve the world we live in.

Considering volunteering as an act of changing the world for better, what else can better explain the volunteer’s mindset? 


Meaning: the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people can’t relate to it.

Every single experience is a unique one. Every single life story is authentic. Each moment of life is perceived by another person differently. Especially when we take opportunities which are not quite common – like volunteering abroad, travelling to remote places, living through the experiences of different cultures – explaining ourselves and our feelings might not be the easiest thing to do. As others might feel that you either show off or try to emphasize on your own significance


Origin: Sanskrit (the word meaning “joy” or “pleasure”)

Meaning: Mudita is the happiness felt from seeing other people happy. It, sharingvthe joy of their success and well-being.

We, volunteers, feel inspired not only to observe other people’s happiness with joy, but to. bring happiness to others , too. Mudita is the quintessence of the volunteer, one of its core principles and attitudes seen in every true volunteer.


Origin: Latin (from “novus” meaning “new”)

Meaning: desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behavior, or situation

The ones who volunteer seek change and improvement of the life of oneselves and others alike, just as the world in total. And, more importantly, they regularly empower such changing – pushing themselves to new opportunities and experiences that make ripples in the lives of other people, as well. Being a volunteer in one way or another means being novaturient.


Meaning: an escape from your everyday routine, out of the ordinary.

Similar to the word “novaturient”, datsuzoku incorporates the volunteer’s nature to seek new experiences and opportunities. Volunteering projects themselves often turn out to be extraordinary moments beyond any kind of everyday life and common routine. Volunteering incorporates datsuzoku as much as it incorporates mudita or meraki.

Now as you already know some fancy words about volunteering, how would you describe your experiences now?

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