(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)
In the part one of this Giving, I talked about Giving in a different light than most people think of, perhaps. I spoke about in business and in life, that we should consider giving more value upfront without an expectation of receiving. I talked about how a business person can give all sorts of value up front before a client ‘buys’. Many new online, and established offline businesses do this with success. In relationships, sometimes we hold back and wait for the other person to give or open up. I profess that we should give, be open and reach out first. (We may get hurt but there is a much better chance we’ll connect)
In this post, I wish to address the main thoughts about giving – and the benefits…..
…. Giving Back is Good For You
Being altruistic, or reaching out to help others, not only benefits the person being helped, but practicing altruism also has many benefits for the person doing the helping. (university studies also show that if someone observes the act of giving between two others, they receive some of the same chemical and emotion benefits)
Altruism is an unselfish concern for the welfare of others. It is a generous way of expressing gratitude for all that you have been given.
Reaching out a hand to lift someone else up is one of the greatest gifts for the heart. The gifts that one receives from giving back and from reaching out to help others are immense and priceless.
There was an online article from OPRAH Magazine that says, “We have become very strange in this country about giving away our money. We only seem to be able to do it unconsciously. Dropping the loose change into the charity jar at the convenience store. Telling someone to keep the change because the untoward jingling in your pocket may disrupt the afternoon staff meeting. As soon as we start thinking about making a donation, we start thinking of reasons not to do it. Money’s too tight at home. The person to whom we’ll give it will spend it unwisely. The buck in the envelope is just a drop in the bucket. Oh, Lord, the problem’s so big and my wallet is so small. The modern reflex seems to be that the worst thing we can do for a problem is to “throw money at it,” even though very few problems ever get solved for free. ”
Talking to friends and clients, and being aware of my own thoughts, I admit that this is true in many ways.
I read about an interesting event…. Over a recent holiday season, a management group in Rhode Island gave its employees money on the express condition that the employees then give it away to someone else in need. The company then asked their employees to share the stories of their charity at a company meeting. There is a spark of the collective consciousness in that, which heartens not only those people involved in the transaction but those who hear the story and pass it along. There is something like art there.
Another article suggests, “When giving away your money, it helps to think of it as more than bits of paper and scraps of metal. That’s not a $20 bill you’re slipping into the envelope there. It’s a bagful of flour. It’s soup or a blanket or a bottle of medicine. That handful of quarters is a handful of rice.”
You can even make this art out of raw self-interest. Giving away money can be the most selfish thing you do. With a father and four of his siblings dead from the same disease, I can look at the check I send to the Alzheimer’s Association and see something that is every bit as therapeutic as any new therapy that money may help create. I see new drug trials, and respite care, and a light against enveloping darkness. (reference: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/The-Benefits-of-Giving-to-Charity#ixzz2S9C26DtP )
Volunteering has always been viewed as good for your soul. Now it turns out that it’s also good for your health and your career. Recent research conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National & Community Service reveals that charitable work literally makes the heart grow stronger. Individuals with coronary artery disease who participate in volunteer activities after suffering a heart attack report a reduction in despair and depression, and that, in turn, rives down mortality and adds years to life. It’s also true that those who volunteer have fewer incidents of heart disease in the first place. (reference :Benefits of Giving Back, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, 12.22.09, http://www.forbes.com)
There is a children’s book that should be a must for all high school and college students to read and re-read. IT IS CALLED – Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud
It speaks on the simplicity and greatness of giving and how it affects all those around us. I know that I constantly need to work on and improve my giving – both monetarily and volunteering.
At the very least !
Give someone a smile, a pleasant thought, prayer, blessing. If you see someone crabby, grouchy, rude, or whatever, instead of silently judging him or her, send some positive vibes, a prayer or a good wish their way. Give them a smile or a kind word.