Giving is profoundly good for the soul. It’s also a prerequisite for getting.
Everyone knows you don’t get without giving. That goes for everything: Friendship, wealth, even herpes.
But it can be really hard to give. If you’re poor, stingy, Scrooge-like or strapped for cash because your assets are tied up in your sparkling possessions, there is hope. If you’re too busy watching Biggest Loser or Game of Thrones to volunteer for the homeless, no problem. Here are four secret ways to give without ever having to dip into your wallet or set foot in a dirty soup kitchen.
You are important, skilled, and brimming with incredible things that you can share with those who need it. Here are four extremely easy but valuable ways of giving that are just as good for your soul and for your fellow people on this tiny planet:
1. Give of your attention.
When someone talks to you, really listen. Pay attention to what they’re saying, understand it and record it in your memory. Analyze it. Is there a meaning behind the words? If so, does it change how you should respond? With more compassion or patience perhaps? See the effect on people when you actively listen. See how you strengthen their confidence, make them feel comfortable around you. Soon what you hear will begin to have a deeper meaning for you too, and in turn it will enrich your life as well. They might give away the lottery numbers for next week, and you’ll only know it because you were really listening.
2. Give of your knowledge or skill.
Regardless of who you are and what you do, you own a deep reservoir of knowledge that can be useful to others. Sometimes we feel stupid or less capable when we compare ourselves to the brightest lights, but, as Einstein said: “If you judge a fish on his ability to climb a tree he’ll spend his life thinking he’s stupid.”
There is something you know that many others don’t. Explore that, embrace it, and study further. Then teach it. Give it away. As you become a mentor to someone you will see how your knowledge and skill develops both them and you. Perhaps you yourself will find a mentor and continue your own path of development, and then who knows what opportunities will come your way? What would you really really like to achieve? You will end up gaining every grain of knowledge and ounce of skill that you need to manifest your dream.
3. Give of your happiness.
Joy is extremely contagious. It’s also a powerful healing emotion that can inspire the stagnant, cure the stressed or depressed, bring courage to the fearful, you name it. It spreads in the form of good vibes, or karma, or whatever you want to call it. You know the sort of person who carries this highly infectious condition. They brighten the room. They leave you feeling sort of bubbly and excited. You can easily pop on a cheery disposition, adopt that state of joyfulness and let it ripple through your surroundings, brightening your own life and the lives of everyone you meet.
You can’t help everyone, give everything, be everywhere and save the world, but you can give, give, give of this sacred state of consciousness. Find out what makes you truly happy, focus only on the things that give you joy, and help brighten the world.
4. Give of your thanks.
Be grateful. But meaningfully so. Notice the things in your life, tangible or not, that are yours because of someone else. Give thanks for someone’s time, or an inspiring thought, or a good smell. Express your gratitude simply and genuinely. Wave a thanks to the driver that let you in off the merge lane. Nod and smile to the supermarket attendant who let you squeeze your stuffed cart in front of them. Whenever you get, give thanks.
And not a penny has to leave your bank account. (But I’ll wager you’ll end up giving joyfully of your money very soon, because if you follow my Guide For The Greedy, you’ll end up getting a lot more too.)
Do you have any other hints and tips for giving?
(Featured image, “Giving Tree Giant” borrowed from Jackaloftrades on Deviantart: http://jackaloftrades.deviantart.com/)