Giving feels good. We all know that. We’ve all experienced the joy of giving at some point in our lives. As human beings we have an innate need for meaning and purpose, and it has been widely documented that when you strip them back to basics, most of the ways we find true meaning are through helping others. Making others feel good makes us feel good, pure and simple.
Another wonderful benefit of giving is that it promotes an Abundance mindset. A view of the world as a place of plentiful resources and opportunity for everyone. Recognition of the benefits and value to be gained by working for mutual success and achievement rather than viewing others as competition that we have to beat to get ahead. That's quite a different view of the world to the one many of us will have grown up with.
Many of the things we valued most during our childhood were scarce resources to us and we felt we had to be in first to make sure we got our share. Whether it was time and attention from our parents, the best toys, or a favourite treat, supply was limited and competition was fierce. This same basic message was reinforced constantly by parents, teachers and the media: for you to get ahead you must win, you must be better than everyone else. This tended to leave us with a Scarcity mindset. A view of the world as a hostile and difficult place to live. A place where everyone else also wants the same resources you want and there isn't enough to go around so you need to grab as much as you can as fast as you can and hold on to it tight.
Because of the power that your mind has in creating your reality, if you see the world as a place of scarcity, competition, and difficulty, that is most likely what you will experience. The good news is that you can change your perceptions at any time and when you start to see the world as place of abundance, collaboration, and ease, then that is the world you will start to experience.
Giving is a wonderful way to help yourself make the transition from a scarcity to abundance mindset. When you start to focus on all that you have to give to others you see and feel the abundance in your life. When you connect with the joy that comes from giving you realise there are much deeper pleasures to be achieved than the accumulation of things.
There are many forms of giving. Endless ways that you can bring joy to other’s lives, many of which will cost you nothing in any sense. Generosity can be as simple as giving a smile to a stranger as you pass them in the street, as allowing a car to pull out in front of you in a stream of traffic or as collecting your neighbours mail while they are on holiday. You can be generous with your time, with your money and with your knowledge and skills. You can be generous with your love and compassion. No matter how you give the rewards you will receive will be invaluable.
Make it a conscious habit to seek opportunities to give more. Remember that small acts of generosity can say just as much as large ones, in fact often more. What is important is not the size or nature of the gift, but the intention behind it. Don't forget that generosity must come from the heart, and must always be free from any expectation of appreciation or reciprocation. When you give a gift and expect to receive thanks for it, or to receive something in return, it ceases to be an act of generosity.
Like everything of course it is important to have balance. Although giving makes us feel good, if we try to do too much for too many people we will become exhausted and jaded. It is important to be just as generous with yourself as you are with others.
How has giving enriched your life? What creative ways have you found to give to others when money was tight? I'd love to hear your stories, so please go ahead and share them in the comments below.