The winter holiday season is a festive time of year in my hometown, New York City.
Also, with my birthday being in December, this an especially festive time of year for me.
I celebrate Christmas, which is a day that not only celebrates the birth of Jesus but also celebrates his life and the words he lived by. For many around the world, the Christmas season is marked by the exchange of gifts.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” – Jesus
It is during this time of year that I am reminded of the generosity of others in my life. I found that this season of gift giving and celebration has had a positive impact on my life.
I believe that as we give more, it changes us for the better.
Here are three ways giving changes us:
1. Changes our Perspective
In the world of personal finance, it is easy to focus all of our energy on improving our own financial position, without thought of helping others along the way. Giving, in contrast, forces us to open our eyes a little wider and see the needs that we encounter every day in our communities and relationships. It gives us a greater calling to keep grinding.
You can’t be generous if you’re broke.
Imagine you went about your work not only motivated to provide for yourself, but also to provide for family and friends. How would that affect your attitude and perseverance when things get hard?
A bigger perspective on the world will help you put the small things in context. Usually, the problems we wrestle with on a day-to-day are insignificant compared to the issues the rest of the world deals with.
For example, problems such as dealing with a broken water heater will mean nothing to a person who is homeless. Or complaining about a bad boss will be a slap in the face of someone who is jobless.
2. Increases our level of Contentment
Contentment is defined as a “state of happiness and satisfaction.” As your perspective shifts, your view of your financial circumstance changes.
Content people are satisfied with their current place in life.
They realize that life is not a dream, but it is not a nightmare either. Contentment enables us to get comfortable in the “in-between” of life: the tension between dream and nightmare.
As our contentment grows, a level of thankfulness grows along with it. We become glass-half-full people, looking at the current circumstances of life with satisfaction.
3. Gives us Peace
Ultimately, generosity gives us peace in our finances. The combination of perspective and contentment brings a peace that goes beyond our current context.
We become less anxious about our next paycheck and our debt. A blip in the stock market does not affect us as strongly anymore. Someone hitting our car in the parking lot doesn’t set us off.
Generous people are not anxious people. Because if they were anxious about money, they wouldn’t give it away.
They value people over money and things. Through giving, we realize that our identity is not tied to our bank account. The financial sacrifice is ultimately a net gain because we are involved in making someone else’s day that much sweeter, which is priceless.
Have you ever needed financial help?
At the time of this writing, I have a good friend laying in a hospital bed as result of a severe case of lupus. If you don’t know what lupus is, it is a immune system disease. Basically, its the immune system attacking itself, thus impacting multiple body parts from the kidney to the heart. It’s pretty horrible. He is the sole provider for his household of a wife and 2 kids. And he was told he can’t work for six months.
This is a dire financial situation. An emergency like this is way bigger than one’s emergency fund.
Have you ever needed help? We all have at some point. And in those moments, someone stepped up. You could be that someone for somebody else.
How We Harnessed the Power of Collective Generosity
I realized early that my friend’s financial situation was bigger than what my wife and I could solve alone. We knew that we had to do something.
My wife heard about a website called YouCaring.com. She immediately created a page and connected with some other friends to push this page through our network. What happened next was amazing.
Within 2 days our community raised $10K and within a week $20K was raised. We had to up the request because we blew past the original amount of $20K. Check out the page here and below. Look at my friend’s story and read the comments.
There is a power of generosity. And there is an even bigger power of collective generosity.
When we come together we can truly move financial mountains in people’s lives.
Sometimes 1 + 1 = 3.
I will challenge you this holiday season to give gifts and give to your favorite charity to make a difference for others.
“Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” – John Wesley
The Rockstarfinance.com community of bloggers are also talking about giving this season. See the links for more:
Anchor: ChiefMomOfficer – I’m Sick of Christmas Materialism Instead Let’s Make a Difference10
Link 2: ForeignBornMD – Holiday Season, Giving Back3
Link 3: Kiwi and Keweenaw Simplifying through #ActsofKindness – Kiwi and Keweenaw1
Link 4: Physician on FIRE – A Quarter Million in DAFs: A Retirement Goal Achieved – Physician on FIRE
Link 5: Budget on a Stick – An Unexpected Gift #actsofkindness
Link 6: Working Optional – Thankful For What I Have Received
Link 7: Mama Fish Saves – Top Charities To Get Kids Involved In Giving
Link 8: Grounded Engineer – Giving Thanks and Why I’m Considering a Donor Advised Fund
Link 9: 99to1percent Giving Thanks and the 6 Gifts that Keeps Giving2
Link 10: Sarah One Small Thing1
Link 11: Jenny The Best Thing You Can Give Your Family? Kindness1
Link 12: Downsize Your 2080 Think Outside the Christmas Gift Box2
Link 13: laurie Best Christmas Gifts http://www.thethreeyearexperiment.com/best-christmas-gifts-person/
Link 14: Matt Spillar Use Your Platform to Help Others
Link 15: Millionaire Doc Volunteerism. #Acts of Kindness
Link 16: Atypicallife Holiday Season Acts of Kindness