The Art of Giving Back
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
— Steve Maraboli
Anne Frank said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
We lose nothing when we give with an open heart. We give love; we receive love. There’s more to giving back than just the physical act of giving, it’s a mindset that usually comes with the following sentiments:
1. Doing something for nothing.
Would you work for someone in need even if you know you’re not getting anything back?
It’s necessary to ask this question when we volunteer or do any kind of non-profit work. If we have to work for free to help someone, and we couldn’t document or record our efforts — meaning no one would know we did it — would we still do it?
Double check your intentions. Is it really for them, or is it a strategy designed to benefit you? Because even though it feels good to give back, and it makes us feel more connected to others and ourselves — we have to ask if we’re doing it for show or for our own ego. Do we have to show off how “good” we actually are on social media? Is that our only incentive in giving back?
We must learn how to do something for someone because it’s our own moral imperative, without the need to proclaim it to the world.
2. What gives you purpose?
Think about the issues that matter to you most. What is a global or local problem that bothers you enough to do something about it? It’s easy to complain to people about major world issues, but we can’t just blame everything on politics and government. If we want to do something about climate change, homelessness, gender inequality, sexism, and other pressing issues, then we have to start somewhere.
For us to move forward, we have to take the first step. And it’s up to us to do that. When we say we have to start “somewhere”, that somewhere could be exactly where we are right now.
Begin with yourself, then your closest circle, then your community, and continue to expand through the rest of the world. Change begins with you.
3. Giving is gratitude.
The act of giving alone makes us more thankful. It’s not just the receiver who feels good, but for the giver too. The more we give, the more grateful we become. And the more grateful we become, the more we want to give. It’s a nurturing cycle that endlessly feeds itself.
Gratitude is one of the highest and positive emotions of all. It naturally puts us in a positive state and an abundant mindset. When people are grateful to receive, they are also more grateful to give.
Giving is like the rain in many ways, it nourishes everything it touches. The rain gives life to all living things and beings. It turns into rivers and streams making its way back to the ocean. Then it becomes rain, giving back to itself over and over again.
4. Kindness is contagious.
The power of human connectivity lies within our small acts of kindness. And it’s contagious — the good kind of pandemic.
When we see others being kind to each other, we feel this natural need to do the same for others, too. We are mirrors of each other, constantly experiencing each other in reflection. Everything makes sense when we think back to the quote “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” Sometimes all it takes is smiling at the homeless while giving them food. Making them feel like they’re human and still a part of the community. Giving a seat to an elderly man on the bus. Giving a flower to a small child. Picking up what a stranger dropped. Holding the door for someone.
Although it seems like we’re always in our own worlds, somewhere someone is watching us doing something good and it’ll inspire them to do good too.
A little drop of compassion can heal wounds that people don’t even know existed within them. It may seem small. It may seem simple. But its ripple effect goes on much further than we realize.
5. Abundance is a mental state.
If you have little money to give, offer a skill set or volunteer your time and energy. Abundance is not solely about having enough money or resources; you can be abundant in your time, your creativity, or your energy.
Because when you think you’re enough, you will always have enough. You tend give more because you know you can never be depleted.
That’s the beauty in the art of giving back — there’s nothing to lose when your sources are finite, but your way of thinking is infinite.