The Advocate

Society’s view on giving needs to be given up

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

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Aristotle wrote that finding happiness and fulfillment is achieved “by loving rather than in being loved.”

Orison Swett Marden once said, “Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.”

Our society has done away with virtue ethics. In doing away with virtue ethics, we no longer have a reason to be selfless. Pride is the ultimate cause of being selfish, but when pride is valued as a virtue and a good thing, selfishness is what ultimately follows.

How many of you have Christmas lists longer than your arm?

When’s the last time your focus was on what you could give to others than in what you were receiving?

Start paying closer attention to the people you encounter during the day. Soon you will recognize an opportunity to give.

If you’re leaving a crowded parking lot and notice someone driving around looking for a spot, you can signal for the person to take your parking spot. If you see an overwhelmed waitress struggling to keep up with your table’s demands, you can leave a larger tip to show your appreciation.

The gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money. We don’t all have the same amount of money, but we all do have time on our hands, and can give some of this time to help others—whether that means we devote our lifetimes to service, or just give a few hours each day or a few days a year.

Generosity isn’t only for strangers. You can weed a neighbor’s garden, cook a meal for your parents or pay a visit to someone you haven’t seen in awhile. Giving to those you know and love the most prevents you from taking them for granted.

Giving doesn’t have to be complicated or grand. It can be an encouraging smile or a gentle hug. About 15 minutes of attentive listening is valuable. After all, it’s not how much we give, but how we give.

An odd byproduct of giving freely out of compassion and love is how it makes the giver feel. The more you give from a place of unconditional generosity, the more joy you feel. Giving makes you realize how much power you have to make others feel better about themselves and their lives.

Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier, too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. So if you want to feel good, do good!

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Society’s view on giving needs to be given up