I am sure you have heard the saying “Give and you shall receive”. This statement holds a lot of truth. I find the more I give, the better I feel about myself…and it makes me feel grateful that I am in a position to help. I know around Christmas time, charity and giving seem to be a focus but why does charity have to be an annual thing?
I remember a time when I was living in Ottawa, Ontario, and noticed a homeless man asking for money. It was a cold February and he had his small dog huddled up on his lap so they could keep each other warm.
I remember thinking, “Even if he does collect some money today…in his un-kept state, is he shunned from grocery stores? Or fast food or coffee places?”
As I walked across the street and entered the mega-mall, I decided to do a good deed. I bought him some oranges (vitamin C), a sandwich and a hot coffee. On my way out, I noticed a pet store so I bought a small bag of dog food.
When I approached this man and his dog, I introduced myself and gave him the items I had brought for him. I asked his name and his dog’s name. He seemed hesitant to answer – like there must be some string attached.
Before he could answer, a woman walked by…stopped…let out a big huff and exclaimed, “FINE…here!”, threw some money in his bowl and then walked away.
I realized what a difference in emotion the same deed brought two different people. I was feeling good about helping and the other woman was…well…feeling the opposite.
Who was I to tell the woman not to give if it makes her feel crappy as I am sure the homeless man needed the money?
The homeless man was very thankful towards me and I walked away feeling like maybe I had made his life a little better – even if momentarily.
So my suggestion is to find a charity that means something to you. If that means giving money, or donating time or participating in an event…DO IT! But do it from a place you can feel good from. Is that good place within you really that hard to find? I know for me, I feel the best when I am trying to make the world a better place. So give it a try…I bet it will change you for the better.
Disclaimer and Mom if you are reading this: I am not endorsing walking up to strangers and putting yourself in unsafe situations. I kept some distance between the homeless man and myself and it was day light on a busy street.