We struggle with believing that giving is better than getting, and why wouldn’t we? Acquiring and hoarding are part of our broken nature. We love the security of having stuff. We’re a disposable culture addicted to the emotional boost of buying something new. What about non-economic forms of giving? Do we really believe giving attention, encouragement, and compliments are better than being on the receiving end?
There have been many studies about the happiness level of people who gave money to charities or volunteered their time. Across the board, these studies found that those who give often exceeded the happiness of those who received. It was found in a 2019 social survey that 43 percent of people who gave blood two or three times a year were very happy, as opposed to the 29 percent who didn’t. In both cases giving did produce a state of happiness. Why is this?
In one word – happiness. Giving ties us together in ways we may not fully understand yet. We certainly are beginning to understand the power of giving and how it socially connects us across borders, languages and other states of being. Think on it for minute – have you ever known a truly happy miser? of a joyful horder? It makes sense that when we give to others, they feel closer to us. What we might not realize is that giving to others makes us feel closer to them, too.
The “pay it forward” idea isn’t a myth. It’s a fact. When people experience a generous kindness, they’re more apt to treat others with the same sort of benevolence. In a combined study between the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard, the first laboratory evidence was found that showed how cooperative behavior is infectious. It spreads through social groups and often takes over in spirit and concept for many groups. It battles depression, anxiety and other negative traits with surprising effectiveness.
There is often a disconnect between who we think or say we are, and who we actually are. Now, many people would say that they’re not selfish, but they still make decisions based on what is ultimately best for them. It isn’t until you actually become generous that you can say that giving is important to you. Once you do, you’ll find that it begins to define you more profoundly than you previously thought possible. Some of our greatest teachers through history have praised the act of giving. We need to become generous people not just because it’s the right thing to do, or because we’ll benefit. We should give because its an energy that tremendous power in life and hey, it sure is nice to know that when we give, we’re creating an environment that has few equals.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill
Peace and Love, Jim