I know that in my last post How Helping Others Helps You – Burnout Stories of Help I promised you my friend’s story. It is a tale of survival in terrible odds, never giving up hope, and coming out of this experience with the determination to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances. My friend indirectly inspired me to start writing this series. He is, however, not ready yet to share his story, and I will only publish it after he has given me the green light. So, the wait will be a little longer.
Not to worry, though, the story will come 🙂
In Helping Others You Help Yourself
When we do something nice for others we often feel that glow, this inexplicable high. We always feel good when we help others, when we see that grateful smile or we just know that we were there for that person. Of course, this applies only if we are not being taken advantage of. There is giving; and then there is giving that makes you feel depleted, because for that one person it is never enough or they only call you when they need you.
In general, though, giving to others makes us feel good. Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive”. I’ll add another quote by Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Did you know that there is a scientific explanation for that emotional high we feel when we give?
Research has shown that giving stimulates the same part of the brain that is triggered by food and sex.
In a three-week study, researchers discovered that people who participated in their tests had less depression; a decrease that was caused by sharing and receiving support.
There are plenty of data which show that giving is a pathway to personal growth and happiness.
Giving is done with love and so what is really important is not how much we give but how much love we put in to it.
Some psychological theories state that giving is in fact an act of selfishness, because of the satisfaction it awakens in us. I do not entirely agree with that. There are many who give from the bottom of their heart, because they genuinely want to help. This is, of course, a personal opinion, but I have seen plenty of people who have given so much without expecting anything in return, which is why it is hard for me to agree with that theory.
Don’t Feel Obliged to Give
Don’t let anyone take you on a guilt trip about giving. For example, a friend or acquaintance is asking you to give to a charity that you may not support or at the moment you cannot afford the expense. Giving should always be genuine; no one should be cajoled into giving when it doesn’t really come from their heart.
Sometimes I receive emails about certain causes, but at that moment I can’t give a donation, because my credit card is full or it’s hard with the current exchange rate (I live in Mexico), and I feel absolutely terrible when I can’t help. I remind myself to check these causes later, to give to them at a later date. When I can’t give financially, I sign petitions and share them. When I can, I make a financial donation. You do what you can.
Time is a Wonderful Gift
Help does not always come in the shape of money. Giving a few minutes, or hours, or even a day, to someone else can make a whole difference for that person. Spending a few hours with your friend and listening to him/her in her time of need; volunteering at a soup kitchen, a local animal rescue center, retirement homes, and so on. All these actions do not require any monetary investment, but instead you give something else that is valuable: your time.
No One Has Ever Become Poor by Giving – Anne Frank
There are some wonderful quotes which I would like to use to end this article. Tomorrow I am meeting my friend and I will ask him when he will be ready to share his story, so I can share it here with you. It is a truly inspiring story. I’m just waiting for him to go over the details with me 🙂 to make sure I got it all right.
In the meantime, I will leave you with these quotes.
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others” – Booker T. Washington
“The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away” – Dorothy Day
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver” – Maya Angelou
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another” – Charles Dickens
Thank you for reading! If you have a comment or question, please let me know in the comments below 🙂