Helping others: a symbiotic relationship?

What is your relationship to giving? What does that even mean to you?

We can donate our time. We can donate our money.

We can help family, friends, neighbors, our local nonprofit working in our city, on a state level, a national level, or a global level.

We can support individuals, or organizations helping on a human level, or the environment, there are religious organizations, and political organizations.

I baking a meal for your neighbor after she had a baby somehow different than volunteering to cook meals for homeless community members, or different than volunteering for a local run?

It feels as though I have been surrounded by people talking about the importance of giving lately. Someone shared this video with me, during which Tony Robbins shares a story of giving his last few dollars away at some low point (financially) in his life. His basic point is that we should give now even if we don’t feel that we have a lot to give. And I hear over and over again that giving often leads to your own success.

I struggle with a lot of these thoughts and it could be a whole book instead of a short post – but here is minor thought rising to the top.

A very close family member is, in my view, very poor. She has no savings and can barely get by on monthly payments coming in. Yet, she has a huge heart and constantly gives to different organizations. I often get frustrated, and tell her as much, because I worry that she will not have enough in the future. “You need to take care of yourself first,” I say.

But maybe I have it all backwards? The feeling that you are contributing to the benefit of others is a very good feeling. Most other communities in the world are much more reliant on others than the individualistic culture in the United States. Giving to others may be one way to reconnect with a natural co-dependence. It benefits both us and others in a beautiful cycle where everyone can win.

So maybe Tony is right, maybe we should all ask how we can help someone else, no matter our current status. And maybe the time is now, not when we think we can afford it (and ‘afford’ applies to both time and money).

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