Are you “Giving Constipated?” Here’s some “Giving Activia”…
Giving is powerful stuff. So much so, that I challenge you to try to name an influential moment in your life that isn’t associated with the concept of giving in some way, shape or form. Come up empty? I sure do – giving goes right to the core. Giving is relatively simple, yet leaves such a lasting impact. When my sister was little, she used to tear her food into smaller pieces so she would have “more” and then she would give half to me. She loved to share everything –Barbies, candy, stickers – you name it. It was just so simple to her. It amazes me how children can wholeheartedly embrace the simple logic of giving, yet it takes years of strength and energy to remind ourselves of this lesson as we get older.
Are you sitting back right now and thinking, “Brittanyyyyy…I know I SHOULD be in a giving mindset, but how? What’s the point?” Hey, I don’t blame you. Sometimes it’s just plain hard to give to others. Or maybe you’ve been out of the habit of giving for so long, that you’ve forgotten how to give and how simple it can actually be. Here are some surefire ways to get your giving gears in motion.
The Many Ways to Give…And there are more than you may think!
I think this is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of giving. Sure, money can work wonders. You can donate to causes that sit close to your heart, you can fund charity projects for friends and family, you can buy Girl Scout cookies (my personal favorite – ha!). Money helps in situations where you are unable to give your talents or time – but it’s not the only option out there. It’s a quick, effective way to give and many times can be tax deductible …which is a nice perk for you too!
You can also give in the form of your talents and physical help. Volunteering opportunities are EVERYWHERE – whether through established organizations or offering to help a friend move across town. If money is tight, please don’t feel like you are unable to help. Giving a few hours on a weekend towards a worthy cause is just as valuable – if not more so. Try to look for volunteering opportunities that fit your talents and interests, and not only will you bring joy to those around you – you’ll have some fun too!
• Time & Attention:
Okay, giving money and volunteering are pretty standard. But they require energy to complete, which might be the reason why you’ve shied away from them for awhile. How about offering your time and attention? Everyone is super busy and if you offer to take the time to help others, even in the smallest of ways, the impact is huge. Most recently I asked some close friends of mine to look at my new website and give me some feedback about what they thought. The people that I asked are people that I admire to no end, people who are movers and shakers in the world and I FULLY realize the extreme value of their time. When I started receiving responses, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. The thought of these leaders taking 10 minutes or so to help me refine my vision and give me their attention was incredible. It might sound like such a small thing to give, something that doesn’t mean too much – but that is absolutely not the case. Your time and attention is so valuable to the people that you love. Even if this means putting down that lengthy to-do list and having a nice, uninterrupted evening with your boyfriend, or getting on the floor and playing with your baby cousins at your next family function instead of hanging out in the corner texting the whole time – it’s worth it. Time and Attention. Costs you hardly anything, but can go a VERY long way.
• Value & Effort:
This is one of my best kept secrets. To give value and effort, to go “above and beyond” in your daily life is such a supreme way of giving to others around you. And you can do it every moment of every day. This especially applies to the workplace. If you do everything you are assigned with diligence and care, you volunteer for extra projects, you contribute new ideas, you work with a scope far outreaching your job description, you are not above hard work and dedication – you are giving the ultimate gift of value and effort. If you take a look at my Soultiply business plan, at the top of every page I have in BIG BOLD letters “ GIVE GIVE GIVE GIVE GIVE !” It’s the beginning and the end of everything I want to accomplish with this business. Because I’m a huge believer that if you bring value to other people, you become indispensable in their lives. People appreciate value and even more so, they know when they are being cheated out of it. Giving value to others is the ultimate giving goal.
And don’t forget about effort – it goes a looooooooong way too! Like when my boyfriend takes me ice skating every winter. He HATES ice skating with a passion, but once a year he will go with me because he knows I love it so much. You can see the concentration on his face, the annoyance in his eyes – but he tries and I know he’s doing it for me. And THAT means so much. Plus, I end up falling down more than he does anyways!
• Thought & Kindness:
To me, this one takes the cake. I don’t care how much money you spend, being thoughtful and kind far surpasses any dollar amount. Here’s a perfect example – don’t you just LOVE when people come out of the woodwork to wish you a Happy Birthday on Facebook? I swear, every year I forget how good that feels. You love getting all these notifications all day long, you feel super popular, people that you haven’t said hello to in FOREVER are reaching out and reconnecting. It just feels great. And it took literally TWO SECONDS for the person to write to you. It’s even on Facebook’s Homepage, so we don’t even have to remember the date!
Being thoughtful is an easy thing to give…but it’s also very easy to mess up. Once I received a very sweet, very thoughtful handmade Christmas gift from my boyfriend at the time. I was reeling; it was the PERFECT, thoughtful gift. But then, the very next year, he made me the SAME gift. Only, this time – we were no longer dating. I think he just had left over supplies from the year before, plus we were in that awkward ‘trying to be friends’ stage, so the lines were blurry. But the thought was zapped out of the second gift, because it made me feel like this was something that he just gives to everyone – girlfriend or not. Sometimes lack of thought can overshadow the monetary and action forms of giving. Thought counts, people! (especially to romantics like me!) It’s cheap, it’s easy and all it takes is a few seconds.
You know a gift you should NOT be giving? You should not be giving people a hard time! Give them kindness and your best self instead. The Staples Copy & Print Center in Midtown should be very thankful I’m writing this post today, because it took all I could muster to give kindness this afternoon – Ha! But every time you can keep your temper, snotty attitude and rude tendencies in check (EVEN if you feel they are warranted), you will be giving a gift to the other person. Lord knows not everyone does it, but no sense giving out that negative energy. All it does is bring you down with it.
Last but not least, the ultimate easy way to give…changing your mindset. It requires NOTHING but shifting your way of thinking. Just getting yourself in the giving mindset alters the energy of a room. I live in New York City, and let me tell you, not everyone is so giving in this town. But around the holidays, the city is buzzing. Everyone is focused on buying gifts and spending time with family. Imagine if we were all in the giving spirit every single day? I’m not talking about forced giving – giving should never be mandated and should never be expected from others. It needs to come from an honest, pure place of heart. You should give solely for the reason that you want to help others.
But I think it’s important to focus on WHY we don’t always feel like giving. Because when you don’t feel like giving, you are living from a mindset of LACK. I think it stems from the idea that we think there is a finite amount of “stuff” in the world. If I give you my “stuff” then I won’t have any “stuff” left for me. There’s not enough for the both of us. You know what I picture when I think of lack? I picture gross, old cavemen swatting at each other for food, grunting and rummaging through the dirt, finding anything to help them in their quest for survival (weird image, I know, but that’s what popped into my mind). And that’s just it – they are merely surviving. Nothing more than that. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to subsist on basic survival. I want abundance and an overflowing amount of experiences in my life. If you are operating from a place of lack, you begin to take it out on other people – using your precious time and resources to make sure that other people can’t attain what you have claimed. Spending hour upon hour making sure that other people don’t “take away” what is “yours”. You could be spending the time and energy doing SO MANY OTHER things! And it’s a crying shame, because most of the time, it’s a huge misconception – other people are not keeping things from you at all! Limited thinking is a mindset.
In reality, you must step back and ask yourself, “Why am I feeling the urge to horde the wealth in my life? Do I feel like if I let others in on what I have that it will disappear from me? Do I feel like there are only a set amount of ‘good circumstances’ in my life and if I give them away to someone else, I will run out?” If you nodded your head yes to any of those thoughts – it’s time to do some major Giving Rehab. Because they are excuses. In actuality, you are the only one that is keeping things from continually manifesting in your life. You are “Giving Constipated”. Yup, I said it. You are all stopped up, and we knowwww nothing good comes out of that. Eat some “Giving Activia” and realize that there is enough in this life to go around. The universe doesn’t operate on lack – humans are always creating, always developing, always bringing new life into creation. Giving helps spur this process and keeps it going round and round! If we could reverse the global mindset on giving, we would obliterate lack. And how cool would that be?
I hope your mind is reeling with new ways to give today. And don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a process and we will never be perfect. Do what feels comfortable and what makes you feel like you are making a difference. Because the best kind of giving is when it resonates in your soul – because not only is it helping others, but it’s also helping you.