There are many people who wish they could give more back to society, but often times those good intentions are overtaken with thoughts like “I’m too busy,” or “I don’t really have any extra money to give,” and “I’ll get around to it eventually.”
The truth is giving can be defined many different ways, and most of the time it doesn’t require a lot of time or money at all. In fact, there are so many ways that all of us can give back, improve the lives of others and make a significant difference to those around us.
Here are seven simple ways to give back in your daily life:
- Take care of yourself first.
You can’t help anyone until you first help yourself. It seems like a cliché answer, but it is a universal truth. Love yourself, and know that once you do, you can move forward and help others. Culturally, we are always told by society that we are lacking and need more to be better. You will be better if you strive to be. You are not missing anything if your heart is in the right place.
- Put a smile on your face.
I am not telling you to pretend to be happy when you are not. However, you would be surprised what a simple smile to a stranger can do. It isn’t putting on the mask of false happiness. More so, it fosters the human connection that we all desire. A simple connection formed through a smile can do more for a fellow human than any discussion about the recent weather patterns.
- Try altruism.
People are run by their egos, and if not kept in check, they become selfish and narcissistic. Individuals do not know they are acting in this manner unless someone tells them, or they come to a self-realization. If you see this type of toxic behavior, model the opposite. Only be more giving and more kind to this person.
They often don’t respond positively, because deep down they know by being selfish they are not following what they truly want and need. They might have something astray in their own life, but by you acting out of a pure giving nature, it can cause them to question their own behavior and intentions.
- Just takes a little change.
If you see someone in need of help, do not just leave them to struggle. It depends on the situation, but do your best to not fall for the bystander effect. If you are more privileged, giving an old coat to someone in need in the winter doesn’t cause you any harm. Buy a few extra hamburgers from the dollar menu, and hand them out to the homeless. Even just acknowledging someone as a fellow person can help their outlook. Oftentimes, those in need get ignored and overlooked so purposefully, it can be a painful existence.
- Model your behavior.
There will be times when you are surrounded by negativity. It is easy to feed off that energy and find yourself reflecting the negative. You need to seek your inner strength and stand tall. Be the positive light in the conversation, and you will be the energy that is reflected. Many negative people have a hard time getting into a positive mindset, but if you demonstrate how it is possible, they might shift their perspective into a positive mindset, too.
- Right the wrongs.
We are all humans, and no matter how hard we strive, mistakes are inevitable. Remain humble and own up to your mistakes. If you mess up and try to ignore it, there is no resolve. Recognize where you went wrong, and apologize. Sometimes, saying ‘sorry’ isn’t enough. You need to discuss what you plan to do differently moving forward. Owning your mistakes is one of the best ways, to be honest with other people and yourself.
- Be authentic.
Be yourself in every capacity, every day. If you are trying to be someone you are not, there is an inner force you are battling. This force makes it a challenge to follow your truth and be who you really are inside. The reason people aren’t their true selves is that they are striving to be something society says is ideal. Oftentimes, these ideals are shown in the media and are trying to sell you what you feel you are lacking. You are already complete. Continue to strive for the best you, and seek well-rounded perspectives.
If you focus on these seven simple tips to giving in your daily life, you’re going to help others, and in the process, you’re going to help yourself. You’ll be more fulfilled, increase self-esteem, have a sense of purpose and inner-peace. Not only that, but I genuinely believe in karma, and when you do good for others, good things happen for you.
As the great novelist Charles Dickens said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” When we all work together and help one another, great things can happen.
Mary Wong is the president of the Office Depot Foundation, home of the Difference Maker Movement. https://officedepotfoundation.org/