“Love is energy,” writes Marianne Williamson in her bestselling book, A Return to Love. Love is a profound feeling that all of us are born with. Our journey in life is to get back to love and cultivate more of it in our hearts. So much so that we have more to spare and share. In a world full of love, Williamson writes, “there would be no hunger because we would feed each other. There would be no environmental breakdown because we would love ourselves, our children, and our planet too much to destroy it…”
In other words, when we love ourselves, we open our hearts up to loving and giving to others. Give love and get it in return. Give thanks, kindness, compassion, and care, and get them in return. “What we give to others, we give to ourselves,” writes Williamson. “What we withhold from others, we withhold from ourselves.”
The simple act of giving is not only helpful to others in our communities, but it also makes us feel good. Gandhi was once quoted saying, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Why People Love Helping Others
There are no shortages of need or ways to help others. Random acts of kindness and compassion, such as giving food to another who is in need or funds to those who are helping, have the power to change lives. Plus, that feel-good experience will last in your heart like a fond memory for much longer than the moment.
In fact, brain science shows that when we help or give to others, we experience something called a “Helper’s High.” Our brains release endorphins that cause a state of euphoria. Helping others also gives us a sense of purpose, which also has its own set of positive mental, emotional, and physical “perks” on us. Helping others by volunteering, donating, fundraising, and so on, has also been found to boost happiness, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and longevity, while lowering depression, stress, and blood pressure.
Despite this, people help others for the love of giving, rather than receiving.
The Life-Changing Power of Giving
How can we bring more love, kindness, gratitude, and compassion into our lives? It’s actually quite simple, but it may require you to change your mind. Do anything often enough and it becomes a habit. The same goes for changing your mind. New thought patterns and habits quite literally reshape your brain and form new synapses.
That’s how you begin to let love and positivity flood in. Focus on kindness, compassion, love, gratitude, and positivity rather than their opposites. When you have love in your heart and positivity on your mind, you can’t help but share it with others!
That sharing of love to others most often comes in the form of giving. This kind of giving comes from the heart with no strings attached. It’s solely for the love of giving and it changes more lives than just yours.
What You Give to Others, You Get in Return
Let’s look at gratitude, as an example of letting in positivity. Gratitude is a long-lasting, deep feeling with the ability to weather and withstand most emotional storms. Being grateful has been shown to boost happiness and lower stress and depression. In fact, the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (as referenced in Janice Kaplan’s book, The Gratitude Diaries), found that ~18.5% of our happiness could be predicted by how much gratitude we feel.
Kaplan says to write down one or more things (people, places, events, feelings, experiences, items, etc.) that you’re grateful for every day. By focusing on what you’re grateful for—the good things in life and that which you love—you begin to notice them more. You shift your perspective from the negative to the positive. You begin to change your mind!
Start by saying “thank you” when someone does something for you. You’ll quickly notice that they say thank you for something that you do in return. Give thanks and receive it. Soon, it will become the best new habit in your life.
Helping Your Community For the Love of Giving
It is important to give back to your community and those who need our help whenever (and however) possible. Find a cause that speaks to your heart and that you believe in. Show your love, kindness, compassion, and gratitude for your community and those dedicated to the cause by helping them out. Volunteer or donate your time, energy, and resources by surrounding yourself with like-minded people who want to better the world in some way.
Helping others for the love of giving will manifest itself in miraculous ways in your life. After all, love is energy that can be directed wherever we focus it.
About Second Harvest
Second Harvest rescues fresh, unsold food to protect the environment from the harmful effects of food waste and provide immediate hunger relief to communities in need across Canada.