“When you give – forget, when you receive – remember.”
This old saying speaks true wisdom about generosity from both ends: if we are the ones who are giving something, we should do so without expecting anything in return and keeping score, we should just let it go and forget about it.
On the other hand, if we are receiving a gift, we should remember this kindness, and even if we don’t return the favour to the same person, we can give to someone else some other time, creating a ripple effect of generosity.
It is not always easy to be generous with no strings attached, simply because it has not been in our culture and we are not used to thinking this way. But once we start doing it, we discover it actually makes us feel good about ourselves and makes us feel worthy. While this emotional compensation can be considered to be a little selfish, it is still much better than not practicing generosity at all. It helps us become better people and create a better world, so here are some suggestions to get you started.
Ask ‘’what can I do for you?’’
Most people are afraid of expressing their emotions, either because they honestly do not know how to or because they do not like showing their vulnerability. If you see someone struggling with their emotions, be there. Do not force them to anything. Do not start a conversation with a question, but start by sharing your story. Describe a hard life situation similar to theirs, put yourself 100% in that story and hope you touched where you intended. But do not be surprised if you do not get anything in return.
There are plenty of options for volunteering and we are sure you can find something to give your time and effort to without feeling bad about it. It can be helping in the local soup kitchen, cleaning up the park or the beach, helping a charity raise money, volunteering with abandoned pets and so on. You can volunteer locally or even volunteer abroad for longer periods, there are option where you get basic accommodation and expenses covered. There are many benefits of volunteering, like helping you make new friends, increase your social and relationship skills, it’s good for your mind and body, don’t forget that happiness effect, too. Inevitably, you receive twice as much then you give.
It is a fact that most of us are consumers and hoarders and we have plenty of stuff we simply don’t use. As a general rule, if we haven’t used something for a year, we won’t use it in the future either, so we are free to donate it. It can be clothes, old kids’ toys, old TVs and computers, furniture or anything basically. We can give things away to our friends and family if they need something, or simply take it to local charities or Red Cross.
Look for ways to be of service
In order to do this, you should pay attention to what is going on around you on daily basis. Notice how people are living, what their current troubles are, and look for ways to be of service for them and be there to make it a little easier. This goes both for strangers and the people you know. Helping elderly is actually what most people are thinking of when they talk about helping. There are many aged care training services you can apply for if you want to become a professional. You will be surprised at how many opportunities to be of service there are as soon as you start paying attention.
Provide emotional and mental support
Most people don’t know how to manage stress and they are carried by life’s currents without knowing how to be there for themselves. Be the strong one, be the person people turn to in the times of misfortune and high stress, be the pillar of your community. Console people, talk to them, make time to listen to their stories and really hear them, give advice, hold their hand, find resources that can help them like self help books, take them for a walk or a field trip and simply be there for them, let them know they are not alone.
Spend time with children
Children are perfect for letting us practice generosity and unconditional love and giving, since they need someone to take care of them and they cannot give anything in return. We can try and spend more time with the kids in our family, or volunteer to do some tutoring, help them with homework, hold a weekend workshop about something we are good at, take them on an excursion or to a museum. Taking care of many kids, especially by yourself, will quickly teach you all you need to know about unconditional giving and care.
A good way to give to the whole world without expecting anything in return is to share your knowledge and art online. You can write a blog about something you are knowledgeable about, giving people tips and advice, you can record a video tutorial and put in on You Tube. If you do any arts, you are likely not going to get paid for it, so why not let it be your gift to the world? Share it, spread it, you might inspire someone to become a great artist.
Remember that there are always people who are in need, and you can always find a way to help someone, you just need to look and listen. You don’t need a reason or a special occasion to be generous, you can do it just because. What you will definitely get in return are emotions, the greatest emotions. Either yours or from people you helped. They don’t have to express it directly to you, but you can watch from some hidden place and enjoy seeing a mother putting some bread on her kids’ table.