Hello readers and greetings from Kansas City!
My wife was recently volunteering at one of the city’s great charities – Wayside Waifs. The organization is filled with amazing individuals who work tirelessly to rescue animals within the community and provide them with loving families. It is a charity that is very dear to her and myself, and I highly recommend any fellow readers in Kansas City to consider donating or volunteering (even if you’re not an animal lover).
But while I was thinking about the organization and how amazing the service is that they provide – it got me thinking about the concept of charity and how it becomes increasingly important to an individual who spends their time or hard-earned money on giving back.
Today, I’d like to share my thoughts on some of the personal benefits of participating in charity.
It is Personally Gratifying
It is often said that giving is a greater joy than receiving, and I have found this to be absolutely true. When you actively choose to dedicate your time and resources to benefiting the lives of others or your community – you see the effects of positive change that you, as an individual, can make on the world around you.
Even if it’s merely a couple of dollars or making small deposits of time at a local organization like Wayside Waifs – it all matters, and it gives you an unmatched enjoyment that cannot be gained through typical notions of “success.”
Charity Gives You Another Perspective
There’s really nothing that can give you a new perspective like making a positive difference in another person’s life. Whether that’s through helping organize a clothing drive, donating food for struggling families or even dropping off old items that can be useful to someone who needs them.
When we make the effort to participate in an act of charity, we undergo an immediate shift in how we think about our lives. It opens us to learning about the experience of another individual. This can be extremely humbling and give us the chance to reflect on all of the things we have to be thankful for. It also shows us how easily someone can fall into unfortunate circumstances outside of their control.
This type of perspective shift can be a very moving experience that we can take with us as we go on with our lives. It makes us better versions of ourselves.
Perhaps the most personally rewarding benefit that we all gain from charity is the enormous sense of gratitude that it bestows upon us.
Often times we get so caught up in the day-to-day drama that we lose touch with reality and create needless headaches for ourselves. We get bent out of shape over cancelled flights, annoying traffic jams, slow WIFI, and other little inconveniences all the time. We’ve all seen someone lose their mind when their favorite sports team loses the big game.
This type of behavior is a normal part of being human. The problem is that without a little grounding, we can get carried away and find ourselves in a toxic, negative feedback loop. We start to focus on negativity and soon even start looking for reasons to be upset.
Charity is a powerful way to instill gratitude and gives us a chance to refocus our perspective. It is hard to feel sorry for yourself and get upset over minor inconveniences when you understand that there are people who are really in need of help in the world.
This type of clarity brings us peace and thankfulness for the many things that we tend to take for granted. You then start to notice just how amazing and blessed you are to be in your situation. As a result, the negative feedback loop that you may be carrying around dissipates and things like traffic jams become a lot more tolerable.
Simply put, charity is a doorway to joy.
Choosing to Make a Difference
Charities are also a great way to make a difference in the issues that you care about.
We all have interests in the world that we would like to make an impact on. Charity is a direct way to that impact. Even if it’s a small contribution – it adds into the larger scheme of things that brings about real effects.
For example, with Wayside Waifs, we help distraught animals find loving homes, and help bring happiness to families who are searching for a pet. But there are other charities that pertain to specific challenges that others might care deeply about. Pollution of our oceans, helping rehabilitate wounded veterans, providing resources to impoverished peoples in local communities – there are plenty of charities that specialize in addressing worthy causes that we face as a planet.
Charity is a tool that we can use to make the differences we wish to see.
Charity is Worthwhile
There are countless other aspects in which charity provides a direct benefit to the individual, as well as our world. Charity reduces stress, helps our friends and neighbors, improves our communities in ways that we can enjoy, gives us hope and makes life better for everyone involved.
I would highly encourage readers to consider taking the time to think about ways that they can give back – large or small. It all makes a difference.
If you have a specific charity that you are involved in, or if you can think of more ways to contribute – let us know in the comments below.
~ Michael Gortenburg Kansas City, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG)