The holiday season is coming, and with it comes the time of year where we think about giving thanks and giving back. This month, we were thinking about our mission and why we give back. After some thought, it only becomes clearer. We give because giving brings joy & connection. But why is giving good for us? And what are some positive effects of charity aside from the obvious ones? We’ll explore some ideas in this blog, and inspire you to Create Hope wherever you go by giving back.
We’re all preoccupied with the pursuit of happiness. And we each find it in a different place. But one of the places we can surely grasp at happiness is in giving. It feels good to give. Think about the last time you gave a gift or donated to a good cause. Can you remember the look on someone’s face, the warm feeling you got?
If you associate giving with good feelings you’re not alone. Some people might even feel so good while giving that they develop a guilty conscious about it. But don’t worry—it’s just our mind’s way of encouraging that behavior. It feels good to give because somewhere deep-down humans need to connect & support one another - generosity allows us to do just that. Peace of mind & positive benefits to your mental health are just some of the reasons why giving is so good for us.
But there are other positive effects of charity—like gratitude and contentment. When we give it makes us thankful for the things we’ve gained or accomplished in our lives. It can also help us see those things which have become mundane in a new light. This profound perspective can help us gain grounding, which yields many prolonged benefits.
Giving can also help you feel less isolated. This is a form of social connection, which we’ll explore in the next section. In a time when people should be more connected than ever but don’t feel that way, giving can help you feel tethered to the people around you.
Exploring the Social Benefits (Cooperation, Connection, Contagious)
It’s been proven that societies who emphasize giving have distinct advantages over those who don’t. For one, people in giving communities exercise more cooperation than those that don’t. This means that one of the positive effects of charity has large consequences for the world in general. Better cooperation between people is directly affected by how good we are to one another.
Giving, let me remind you is much bigger and deeper than monetary donations. While monetary gifts are certainly wonderful, remember giving of your time, your patience, your talents, and your attention are equally (if not more) apt to connect you with those you serve.
We talked about isolation in the last section, and that goes together with the next social benefit. Why is giving good for you? It’s because it connects people who otherwise would feel alone. Now think what the world would be like if no one felt isolated. We think it would be a much better place.
Giving is also contagious. Ever heard of ‘pay-it-forward’? This is a perfect example. When we give, we encourage other to do the same, causing a ripple effect that can change lives quickly.
Doing the Right Thing
Perhaps the simplest reason is that giving feels good; it's in our genetics. God, the ultimate Giver, put that desire within us to help one another. Just go with it!
Even though giving feels good & natural, here's a gentle reminder to make sure our giving is tempered with the awareness of what that person actually needs. Sometimes *think third-world countries* it feels great to bring a bunch of second hand clothing to the underprivileged. Yet, our secondhand items may not be what they need at all. It can even create more difficulties. Our missions experience has taught us what people often want is simply opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty through education & employment. They lack opportunities; not dignity.
If you haven't, I encourage you to read a fantastic book When Helping Hurts which discusses this very thing. For now, let's remember to temper our deep desire to help with outward-focused wisdom.
If you’re looking to give a gift this holiday season, or simply carry a reminder with you to give back and be thankful, consider building your own cuff or selecting one of our products from our storefront. Each purchase gives a gift as well, by supporting education for children both locally and globally through organizations like AIM, Pathways4Youth, and more.