Recently I was able to be a part of an amazing group of people who traveled to the Dominican Republic to provide dental care for people in need. Every time I participate in one of these trips, I always feel like the people I am serving are having a bigger impact on my life than I am having on theirs. I always feel like I am the one receiving the charity.
I’ve thought a lot about that feeling over the years. What is it about doing good for others that changes us and inspires us to give more? Why do I feel the most excitement and energy when I spend every ounce of it trying to improve somebody else’s life?
The Giving Paradox
I’m sure that most of you have all had the same experience that I described above. You give everything you have doing something that only benefits somebody else, only to find that you have more energy and happiness when you are finished.
The great paradox of giving is that the more you give the more you gain. The more you help others, the more you will be helped. The more energy you put into lifting others, the more you will be lifted up. The more love you give away, the more love you will receive. You cannot give without getting even more in return.
It doesn’t seem to make sense because if you spend the same amount of time doing just about anything else, you can’t produce the same result. It is like a special reward you can only get when doing good for others.
Great men and women throughout history have commented on this feeling.
I am reminded of the teaching of Jesus when he said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life…shall find it.”
I read that quote to mean that whoever goes through life looking out for only themselves will find in the end that they have created no life at all. It will be full of possessions and yet be empty. They may have friends but no deep connections. They will always search for something new that gives them that good feeling, only to find that it wears off too fast.
Those who expend their efforts looking for ways to serve others will find that they enjoy an abundant life. They may or may not have many possessions but either way, that will not define them. They are rewarded constantly by the feelings that always accompany doing good for others.
I have even felt that serving others does as much to cure many forms of depression as any medication (Read more about that HERE).
What Can You Do Today?
There is an infinite number of ways to make a difference for somebody else and most of them are pretty small and require nothing more than your time. You would be amazed how much of a difference you can make by just smiling every time you talk to someone.
People working at fast food restaurants or grocery stores are often treated pretty poorly, try looking them in the eye and saying, “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.”
If you really want to make an impact, go to the store and buy a bunch of blank “Thank You” cards that you can write in and give to people any time they do something nice for you. Even better, write a card to someone for no reason and tell them how much you appreciate them. You will seriously change somebody’s life.
These are just some small examples. If you keep your eyes open, you will find ways to serve the people around you all day long. You don’t need to do something big but you do need to do something. For you, for them, for your own happiness.
Here are some quotes you might like…
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
― Robert F. Kennedy
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
― Edward Everett Hale
“One person can make a difference, and every person should try.”
― Thomas E. Cronin
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa
If you enjoyed this post, please share it so you can help us grow! Thanks!