Giving is the Blessing
that Changes our lives for the better
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ―Maya Angelou
As human beings, we have the ability to do innumerable things. A few examples of our many capabilities are: reasoning, loving, being happy, and giving. These remarkable attributes are all blessings. The reason they are blessings is that they are the gifts we have been given with which to live our best lives. None of them should be squandered.
Reasoning allows us to make choices about our lives and what we will do with them. Loving enhances our lives and gives us people to share our experiences with. Being happy keeps us healthy and fulfilled.
Giving opens our eyes to the needs of others and fills our hearts with joy. It could also be said that giving wakes us up to making better choices, being more open to love, and being happier, because it makes us more aware of how our actions, and even our inactions, affect those around us.
Let’s think about what giving is exactly. When we give of our time, we are handing over a certain number of hours a day, a week, a month, or a year to a person, a group, or a cause that needs assistance. In that space of time, we perform services dedicated to improving circumstances for that person, group, or cause. We perform these services using our personal expertise and any other abilities we have to do the job right. This is done with no expectation of being paid or receiving anything in return. It is also done on a voluntary basis because we want to do it. We have become aware of the need and something inside us has motivated us to want to help. No one has told us we have to.
When we give money or items of value, such as clothing, furniture, or food, we are donating what we can afford, usually to a group or a cause that will distribute our donation to those who need it. We may give in this way when we don’t have the time or the required expertise to do the job right ourselves. Once again, although we may receive a small thank you gift for our assistance, we donate with no expectation of receiving anything in return. It is enough to know that in some way, no matter how large or small, we have contributed to improving someone else’s circumstance.
We can also give by doing both: volunteering time and donating money or items of value. Many do and spend a great deal of their time raising funds for, supporting, and donating to organizations that make lives better. This is their only motivation: to secure a better life for someone else.
Although we give without seeking notoriety or a reward, we do get something in return. Each time we donate money to the Salvation Army at Christmas or to the Cancer Society at Easter, give what we can to the local foodbank, walk a runway for a good cause, race for a cure, or canvas our neighborhood for a nonprofit, we feel a burst of joy. There is nothing selfish about this. The happiness spreading through us hasn’t been sought out. It’s completely spontaneous. No matter what our contribution has been, it has been a willing acknowledgement of the circumstance of someone other than ourselves and a desire within ourselves to provide assistance.
Bringing hope to another brings us joy. It also sustains our own sense of hope, elevates our happiness, and energizes us so that we continue improving our own lives while helping others improve theirs.