Possibly the quickest way to feel better when you feel bad is to give what you can, where you can. Giving makes you feel good, because in a spiritual sense, you get what you give; what you see in the world outside of you is a reflection of what you have given.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt
If something is missing, look not outside for the lack you perceive, but ask yourself what it is that you haven’t been giving.
You Get What You Give
“Recognize that the other person is you,” the beloved Yogi Bhajan, founder of Kundalini Yoga and spiritual teacher, would say.
On a material level, what we give away we lose. On a spiritual level, we can only keep what we give away.
When we give, we contribute to the kind of world we want to live in. Do we contribute to the pain we see there, or do we strengthen the hope that we’d like to see more of? It’s helpful to remember that sometimes it’s not even what we say or do, but how we say or do it, that has the power to heal or hurt.
Giving is one of the surest ways to feel better, because we’re actually helping ourselves when we help another; it means we’re willing to see that the other person is a reflection of the light, or the shadows, inside ourselves. A giving spirit breaks down the barriers that would keep us apart.
We open the door to unconditional love and giving when we practice forgiveness.
Forgive what you wish was different. Forgive events for unfolding as they did. Forgive people for not behaving how you think they should have. Part of forgiving others will call for you to forgive yourself for ever leaning so far into fear that you felt the betrayal, heartache, and frustration as real.
Through your forgiveness you’ll be able to see that we all want love, that there is a light in everything, and that perhaps we’re more similar than we are different. This is what’s really real.
The kindness you give away, especially when it’s hard? That resembles the compassion you’re able to bathe in when times are tough. The gratitude you express opens your eyes to more to be grateful for. The peace you extend to others strengthens the peaceful foundation you stand on within.
Shining your light lifts everyone, and you cannot evade your own light when it’s shining.
If You Want to Feel Better, Help Someone
“We rise by lifting others,” as Robert Ingersoll said, because when we lift others we are lifted too.
Vincent Van Gogh said that “What is done in love is done well.” If we give with love and without conditions, the beauty we put into the world is limitless.
We don’t need to offer an expensive gift or a giant favor, either; the smallest acts of kindness benefit all parties involved. We can offer to carry the groceries, hold the door, listen to someone’s hardships without spilling our problems onto them, or share an inspiring quote.
Our capacity to give is intrinsically connected to the level of gratitude we embody, and gratitude is linked to health, happiness, and social connection. Giving is both an expression of gratitude and a catalyst for gratitude in others.
When we seek to discover the best in others we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. Through our generosity, we’re ultimately accepting our mission to extend peace, and only through our acceptance of the extension of peace will we find peace. This is why Marianne Williamson says, “Love extended is the key to happiness. Love withheld is the key to pain.”
Give What You Want to Receive
Brendon Burchard, motivational author and speaker, reminds us: “There are only two ways that life changes: Either something new comes into your life, or something comes from within.” Sure, sometimes external happenings will change our lives for “better or worse,” but most of the time it’s what we summon from within that will change our lives.
If we want to live in a more loving world, we must become strong in love. If the strongest energies around us are fearful energies, we can either play victim to our surroundings or summon the strength from within to generate joy. Our greatest work is to become who we’re capable of being, to do what we’re capable of doing to make the world a better place to live in.
Give what you want to see. Give the love that’s left out of the conversation. Give the joy that’s absent from the room. Give the lightheartedness that would lift the somber meeting. Treat others not how they are; treat them how you are.
In fear, there is nothing but a call for the love that’s missing; we can either get sucked into the fear, or we can bring forth what’s being called for.
Let your words be the rain that grows flowers, not the thunder that strikes them down. The thunder you give to others is the thunder you will feel inside, and so it is that all the ways you enrich the world will come back full circle to enliven your soul.
- How can you be a conduit for peace, love, and joy today rather than a harbor for fear and pain?
- Are you willing to embrace your own power to spread love where it’s missing, to shine light when it’s dark?
- Are you willing to give away what you’re tempted to keep for yourself?
- When have you chosen to become the change, and how did that shift the conversation or situation?
Please share your thoughts, helpful insights on connection and compassion, lessons learned in loving each other versus judging each other, and any inspiring stories with me in the comments.
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I am how I love, and I get the love I give away.
Free gold heart by We Lived Happily Ever After; lettering by Aim Happy.