Written by Arun Perera
21 Mar, 2018 | 6:20 pm
Recently I was reading a report on the most generous countries in the world based on financial donations, helping strangers and volunteering time. It was published in November of 2017 by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in the UK, which is a worldwide organization that promotes general donations to charities. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Sri Lanka is ranked No.8 in the world between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands considering our giving patterns for over a period of 5 years. Isn’t that Great! Such encouraging news. Although the report did iterate that our countries score has declined in the recent years.
Most of you may have heard the phrase ‘Live and let live’. I strive to champion that phrase as much as I can in my personal life. Although I like to divert your attention to a lesser known phrase at this time, which is to ‘Give and let live’. Sri Lanka is in good standing in terms of our giving patterns. This should further increase (and not decline) not just for the sake of our nation but also for our own personal wellbeing.
Giving can be done in three ways. We can give our Time, Talents or Treasures. I know times are tough but even if we don’t have a ‘treasure’ to donate, we all do have time and talents. Giving to another helps us to grow socially and financially.
I heard a story of a man who was suffering from depression. His counselor gave him some homework that would help in the healing process. In the morning when the man stands in front of the mirror to get dressed for work, he was asked to make it a point to think of the needs of at least one person other than himself and his own family. Immediately the man started sensing a difference in his emotional stability and some months later he was completely healed.
Serving someone other than our selves and our own family does two things. It creates an appreciation for what we have been blessed with and a sense of awareness of the emotions of others. The former reduces stress and worry, while the latter assists in forming stronger social relationships. When we are more aware of the emotions of others, it is easier for us to relate to them. This social skill helps us in relating and dealing with our own family members and loved ones in times of strife.
We stand to gain financially by giving charitably. Giving a significant donation to a charity at the end of a month makes you more conscious of your spending habits during the month and maybe tempt you to cut-off some unnecessary spending’s. Most of all, giving is like sowing a seed. It grows underground for many years and then sprouts out to bear the fruit of honor, integrity & respect for its sower. I don’t need to prove how valuable these attributes are for an individual, whether he/she is an entrepreneur or an employee.
Receiving a gift from someone is always a rewarding experience. Although, when giving a gift, the sight of thankfulness and gratitude in the face of the recipient is a far more rewarding. It builds a memory in our minds and an impression in our hearts that remains for a long long time.
Helping someone in need gives purpose to life. Without purpose, it is impossible for us to derive a vision for our lives. Without a vision in life, man will perish. Therefore, let us ‘Give and let live’.
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