The question I would like to discuss with you today is “Is the act of giving that important?”. Well, by this point, I think all of us have witnessed how the act of giving comes naturally to a certain group of people. Basically, they like giving. However, it might not come as naturally to some people. Those who belong to the latter probably ask this question more often than the others. I am here to tell you that it is perfectly normal to ask this question to yourself. People come in different shapes and sizes, not just from the outside but also from the inside. So, not everyone is a natural philanthropist like some of our friends or family. And you know what? Me neither.
Just like you, there was a certain point in my life when I started questioning about the importance of giving. Growing up in a church environment, I have been fed with hundreds to thousands of reasons on why I should give to the people in need. I learned about how it is always the right thing to help others. Even looking from the non-religious perspective, humans are generally praised when they practice the act of giving. It is simply a manifestation of one’s kindness. I was grateful for the fact that I had a rather good social environment when I was young, where I can easily find a lot of nice people who are willing to help other people. But on the other hand, it also made me feel like I’m the worst among them because I… don’t… give. Such a goon, right?
But now, let me ask you another question. What is actually the definition of giving? Have you ever tried to find out? Well, here’s what I found when I searched the internet for the definition of “give”. “Give” is a verb that involves two objects or two parties, and it is officially defined as “Freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to”. Notice how “something” and “someone” is not exactly determined here? So, does it technically mean that it can be any “something” and any “someone”? Yes. The definition of giving, as of probably thousands of other words in any language, are dynamically defined based on a certain context. In this case, the subject. You. Me. Them. You get to define your own definition of giving. Stop comparing yourself to others. They have their own definition. Doing so will directly affect how you define giving, and it is just the same as using someone else’s standard of life. Can you imagine if you were close friends with Mother Theresa? How are you going to live up to that standard?
Now that it’s clear what you have to do, I want you to start asking yourself, “What does giving mean to me?” Once again, giving is a “free transfer of possession from you to another person”. What are the things that you are willing to give freely, without any charge or expectation of getting something in return? Logically speaking, then it has to be something that you have abundantly, more than the people around you. Start from there. It will be easier for you to give it freely, because you are aware that you are blessed with more of that particular thing. It can be money, time, thoughts, knowledge, clothes, shoes, books, food or even a house. Start somewhere. You get the idea.
We ask the question on the importance of giving because we made it seem hard to give, like it is a school homework that needs to be done, no questions asked. Once you make it easier, it will come naturally. Based on a study in 2006 by Jorge Moll and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, doing charities activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Research from Emory University also shows that when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were actually the recipient and not the giver. This phenomenon is often called the “helper’s high” which is the warm sensation due to a release of endorphins. Humans are hard-wired to seek happiness and thrills, so it is safe to say that humans are meant to give. It is, after all, in our nature. Our job is to activate this nature, and steadily train ourselves to be considerate with our surroundings and contribute to restoring balance in this world.
So, what is your definition of giving? I would love to hear what you think! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, connect with me through my website in LifeForExperts.com, my Twitter in @lifeforexperts, or my Instagram in @lifeforexpert without the letter “s” at the end.
Thank you for trusting Life For Experts. Never stop learning to become an expert in life. I’m Dannis, and I will see you next time. Bye!