As we wake up every single day, we are given breath so we can give to others.
Can you remember the last time you gave selflessly to someone?
As you read that question, I bet the giving of material things immediately came to mind.
Some of you are probably wondering how you can give money and your stuff to others when you’re struggling to pay your bills, pay for your education or your kids’ education, support your parents, put food on the table, build up your savings, and so on.
How can you give when you have no money left over? How can you give when you have personal debt to pay off?
Giving does not have to be material items or money.
When was the last time you uplifted someone by an unexpected kind word, by a smile when they expected hostility from you?
Do you give back hostility for hostility? Negativity for negativity? Or do you find peace within yourself to say nothing, breathe, forget the hurt that has been done to you, and move on? Or maybe offer a kind word of sorts to those who hurt you, and then move on?
When was the last time you encouraged someone to keep going even as they were about to give up? Called, texted, or emailed someone to check in with them, to tell them you’re thinking of them?
Do you give up your time to uplift people outside your family members, outside your inner circle? Make time out of your busy schedule to meet someone who needs some inspiration or encouragement from you? Or who is interested in the work you do and needs you as a mentor?
If you’re an employer, aside from giving raises, what else do you do to empower your staff? A note telling them how hardworking they are? Supporting them in times of personal or family crises? Giving paid time off when they have personal items to deal with? Unexpected meals or treats?
Some tips for family members: a back rub, a kiss, or a spontaneous hug for your children or partner/spouse, showing love and affection randomly, but especially when they’re going through a rough patch.
Sometimes the very people who are closest to us are the ones we forget to show love, affection, and caring to. We love all others outside the home. We are at our best for friends, colleagues, even strangers, but we sometimes don’t smile with, laugh with, or tell our closest ones how much we love them. We may forget to acknowledge them or give them loving, kind, or uplifting words.
We get into our go-go-go routines at home, often even forgetting to look into our loved ones’ eyes, but we get to the outside world and show love to strangers! What an irony!
We must make our children, spouses, and our life partners a priority with our time. We must be there for them and honor them by giving them our time and affection.
As the saying goes, “Charity begins at home.”
We live to give.
We live to love.
We live to uplift.
We live to inspire.
We live to empower.
We live to encourage.
We must do all this to fully thrive in life.
We now understand we don’t need to give material items or money to necessarily be givers. The intangible giving by making use of our gifts, our time, and our attention is often more meaningful than giving things. More things just lead to clutter anyway.
Giving your stuff to people just transfers the clutter from your home to theirs.
Giving of your gifts, talents, wisdom, and time helps to declutter their souls and to uplift them and give them peace. With the exception of money or vital items needed for life survival, of course. Food, clothing, toiletries, school supplies, money for shelter, helping a homeless person, contributing to a women’s shelter, etc. These are humane ways to contribute our money and resources to help others survive and thrive.
I know we get it so far.
We can give our talents, our gifts, our time, and our affection, along with kind words, a smile, a hug, an encouraging note to someone.
Money and material stuff are not the only ways to give.
Now, we must discuss a few caveats to giving:
- When we give, we must not expect anything in return.
- · We cannot give stuff, presents, meals, or even sex to someone to earn their love or attention. This is not giving. This is called manipulation, and it will backfire.
- · Boundaries must still be in place. A friend, colleague, or even romantic partner or spouse who uses or abuses you physically, emotionally, or psychologically does not deserve your giving. If you’re being physically abused, you must seek help immediately. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
- · Do not become a slave to others’ manipulation. Do not allow your inner value to be crushed by anyone.
- · Do not give of yourself to the point of exhaustion. Take care of yourself spiritually, physically, and emotionally first so you can have enough to pour in to others.
- · Say NO when needed.
- · You must first flourish and thrive before helping others to flourish and thrive.
So yes, the overall purpose of our existence is to give to others and make the world a better place than when we entered it.
Brighten up someone’s day just a little more.
Give someone hope again.
Remember the forgotten.
Uplift those who feel sad or dejected.
This Thanksgiving, my hope is that you take some moments to give these things to someone who least expects it.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
May you all be permanently happy while giving and receiving.