By Stacey Rose, LCSW, PhD
You probably give to others every day; whether you want to or not. Giving is built into our lives, whether we are at work or at home. We give to our children, our spouses, our parents, our friends, sometimes whether we really want to or not. But do you realize how much you benefit from giving? You, and everyone around you, wins when you give.
When you give to those around you, you will: live longer, have lower cholesterol, be less likely to have a heart attack, and be happier according to recent studies. When you give your time, your attention, your love, your money or gifts, you likely feel a sense of satisfaction and joy from being able to help someone in need. Be sure though that the giving you do is because you want to; it’s genuine. When we give to others out of obligation, we do not reap the same rewards as when it comes from our hearts.
Arthur Ashe, the famous tennis player, said, “From what we get, we can make a living, from what we give, we can make a life.” Giving is a powerful experience. Research also shows that when we witness someone being kind, we can benefit from that as well.
In order for us to take something in our lives, we need to give. Imagine going to the bank and only withdrawing all the time; never a deposit. Eventually, you would go bankrupt! Relationships are the same way. We must make ’emotional deposits’ and not just withdrawals. Examples of emotional deposits are: hugs, compliments, bringing someone a cup of coffee or a meal, doing a favor for your partner, or simply being present with those we love. All of these gestures are only considered emotional deposits if you do them because you want to and if they are not expected. If you can remember a time in your life when someone gave you something unexpected, you probably felt happy; because you were thought of or felt important. We all need those around us to go out of their way at times to think of us and remind us just how special we are to them. But the way we can get more of what we need from them, is to give them more of what they need from us. You start and watch what happens.
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile,” said Albert Einstein. Think about how you spend your energy throughout each day and how many ‘deposits’ you make into your relationships. Then sit back and notice how giving to others comes right back to you. Enjoy!