8 Ways to Give Without Giving Money
Here are some ways in which we can give without giving money, enriching and broadening our lives and others’!
In our consumerist culture, it is all too easy to be misguided by the idea that everything can be reduced to money and money exchanges. But there are things beyond this: there is kindness, a good word, a helping hand, a well-intentioned advice, an altruistic gift, a respectful handshake, or a heart-warming smile. Reality is so multidimensional that taking and giving are much more than what the consumerist ideology surrounding us would have us think.
Which are some ways in which we can give without giving money and how can this giving enrich and broaden our lives? Here we will try to address briefly this question with fidelity to this very important and very neglected idea: that in enriching other’s lives in these small ways we can also enrich our own and create a better, more hospitable world. There is, after all, not only joy in taking but also joy in giving. Maybe even more so!
Blood Donation: For starters, one of the most basic things you can offer, is your own blood. Blood is much needed when treating patients and it would mean a lot if you became a blood donor. Blood donation ensures that there is enough supply of blood to cover the needs of hospitals and medical centers and it is a sign of taking social responsibility when you yourself help in that effort. Not to mention that it is actually good for you because it can lower your bad cholesterol levels. Just make sure that you take it easy afterward and eat something nutritious to replenish the lost blood.
Teach someone something you know: This one is like an itch. When you see that someone is unaware of something that you know of, it is a good instinct to have to be sharing your knowledge and expertise. Sharing ideas is one of the first things that have sparked the development of civilizations and it is a very vital part of human culture. A teacher, after all, is not only someone who gives away knowledge in a formal classroom setting. Teaching can happen at any time, between any people and in any way. Sharing your skills and knowledge pro bono, out of the urge to create a wiser and more well-informed world is highly important and a priceless gift. There is after all the Chinese saying that “You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him how to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.”
Cook a meal or bake a cake and share it: Cooking in itself is a very enjoyable activity. It can boost your creativity and it speaks to all the senses. Cooking for friends at home or sharing food with a neighbor can be a very important facet of meaningful social interaction. It can contribute to relationship building and greater bonding between people. Enjoying good food has been shown to have long-term psychological as well as health benefits. Being mindful about cooking as well as eating is a promising and pleasurable process that connects sensory gratification with the joy of sharing and connecting with others over the enticing smells of the most tangible form of human love: food.
Be a friend to someone who needs it: The outcast, the marginalized, the bullied and abused, all these are people in need; people with the least social stability. It is exactly these people who need more love, acceptance, and support. The idea that if you are already “damaged goods” it is alright to hurt you, even more, has only contributed to the perpetuation of systems of violence and oppression around us. So be nice to the excluded and bring social justice into the conversation by always trying to balance out the adverse effects of an increasingly hostile society with a little bit of love and kindness.
Write a blog: Yes, writing is a way of giving. Very much like teaching something that you know, writing and sharing your writing contributes to our collective consciousness. So, be thorough about it. Take a subject that you feel strongly about, an activist cause maybe, and dedicate some hours in the day to spread awareness through some well-meant online writing. A blog is a good way to find your own voice. And in finding it, you will also become more able to give to others. Remember: writing can become an important way of caring for both yourself and others. Also, feel free to nourish it as a skill by joining online writing groups where you can both give and take some writerly support and love.
Become an exercise buddy: Have you ever thought of all those times you said you would start the gym, maybe stuck with it for a while, and then grew tired and dropped out? You are not alone in this. It has been shown that an exercise buddy can actually motivate you to work out more and be more persistent. So, become someone’s exercise buddy and go running that track together. It will be mutually beneficial and plus, you get to do that serotonin-enhancing light chat at the end, sharing news and just being with a friend, without having to eat chocolate for the same effects!
Give away things you no longer use: Whether it is old clothes, children’s games, the book you are no longer reading etc. you could give some joy to another life with little trouble just by giving away items that are in a good condition, but that you no longer use. Learning how to give these little things can even help you stay grounded and learn how to place more value in people rather than in things. This is the whole idea behind giving: to prefer the smile in another person’s face than your own greedy attachment to material things.
Fight for a cause: Volunteer in a non-governmental organization, go to a demonstration, dedicate hours into an activist cause. These can give meaning to life and make you feel like what you are offering-whether it is time, skills or simply a loud voice at an activist rally-can actually make a difference. Care for the environment, plant a tree, fight racism, dedicate yourself to women’s rights: these and many other can truly create for you spaces where you can claim a better world for you and your community.
As you may guess, this is not an exhaustive list. There are many, many more ways of becoming an active giver. Each person is unique in this: they could be emotional laborers or shy writers or outspoken activists. Either way, everyone has a unique way of being a giver; and it is truly a gift to our society every time a giving happens.
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