The Gift is in the Giving

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

We all give. We’re all kind and generous. It’s in our nature.
We write the checks, make the donations, watch the kids, pick up the mail.
And then we move on to the next to-do on the list without a second thought or skipped beat.

There’s also a lot of growth to be had in giving, if we’ll only take a little extra time and a slightly different approach.

According to Professor Raj from the Life of Happiness and Fulfillment class I’m taking, we can have an “inner transformation” just by doing a kind and generous act. That means taking time to be fully in the moment so as to fully notice the impact. Not just on our recipient, but very importantly, on ourselves.

“The gift is in the giving”, they say. It works both ways.
Let’s take a closer look …

A friend of mine used to not only buy his morning coffee, but also that of the person behind him. A driver paid her road toll and the driver’s behind her. A man put his trash cans back in place each Wednesday, as well as his disabled neighbor’s. A friend left a basket of flowers and favorite candies on her downtrodden friend’s doorstep.

We’ve all heard about those “random acts of kindness” and how nice people can be to others. I bet you’ve been the giver and maybe even the receiver of some of those kind acts. What if we consciously did more of those things AND paid closer attention to the gifts?

A recent class exercise in the Life of Happiness and Fulfillment was called “Creative Altruism”. We students were to choose a recipient of our action, decide what to do for them, then carry it out, and write a brief report, highlighting the resulting emotions – not just theirs but OURs too.

The little boys, ages 4 and 6, next door love to come over and “scare” us in their Halloween costumes, chit chat in the front yard, and bring Valentines cards. I decided to thank them for being good neighbors in the form of home-made M&M cookies. I delivered the heaping plate of colorful cookies to grateful boys, returned home and felt such a sense of joy. What was that?

Happiness. Satisfaction. Pride. Gratitude. Love.
Good things, GIFTS, we all need more of.

The point of this exercise was that the most rewarding, inner-growth inducing gestures are those that make us, the Givers, feel good too. We must be kind and generous to ourselves while doing the same for others. This healthy kind of generosity triggers an “inner transformation”.

How about your own little exercise in “creative altruism” this week? Choose your target and your action, then get going!
Here are 3 simple rules for maximum inner transformation:
1- Include yourself in the generous act – make sure you’re being kind to yourself too – make it easy and within your budget, for instance.
2- Notice the impact of your generosity and feel the rewarding emotions – notice the recipient’s reaction, and pay attention to yours just as much.
3- Have fun in the giving – make your generous act something you enjoy doing anyway and for someone you enjoy helping.

The gift is in the giving. Truly. Those feelings from your giving bring about more happiness to be experienced and then easily shared.
Gifts. Giving. Growth.The Gift is in the Giving
Let’s all have some more of those!

Choose to have a great week!

One Comment

  1. Ruth Anne Gransbury says:

    Great, uplifting Ideas!! I’m continuing to send these thoughts to my son, Kevin. He continues to amaze me how far he has come since he was released from prison Nov. 1st!!! Live is GOOD!!!!! Love, Ruth Anne

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