Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Keys To Happiness: Giving During Times Of Need

"You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give."

The above quote is often attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, though there are those who would disagree. But regardless of who actually uttered those words, the sentiment is what matters most.

Generosity can be challenging, especially during these difficult economic times. When we have little for ourselves, we find it hard to justify giving to others, but giving doesn't necessarily require donating money to those less privileged than ourselves. There are many different ways to give, other than monetarily:


Help someone learn to read or to learn English.
Mentor an at-risk youth.
Drive someone to their doctor's appointment, or help them run errands.
Offer to help an elderly neighbour clean their house.
Volunteer at a Veteran's Hospital.


Give some old clothes to a homeless shelter.
Give away old toys and books to family in need.
Donate old glasses, cell phones, hotel soaps and shampoos to the various organizations that take them.


Smile at strangers, you'll be amazed at how this can lift a person's spirits.
Compliment someone on how they look, or a job well done.
Give someone a hug.
Tell someone you love and appreciate them.

Giving, without conditions, makes us feel good. And seeing others help without expectations, inspires the rest of us. One of my favorite TV commercials is a Liberty Mutual ad that shows various people witnessing random acts of kindness by others; and, inspired by what they observe they, in turn, do the same for others. It's the whole pay-it-forward phenomenon. If we see someone being kind to another, it makes us want to do the same thing.

So, go out, give of your money, time or possessions- it's the right thing to do. Let's take care of each other.

"There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else."

By Peyton Conway March