Being There for Someone

We give best when we give of ourselves.

During the holiday season, we tend to think more about giving to those in need. At this time of year, charitable helping_handsorganizations generally receive the bulk of their donations. From the Salvation Army Santa’s ringing bells on the street corner to Samaritan’s Purse shoe boxes to television commercials for children’s hospitals, we see opportunities to give.

Some might say that this increase in charitable giving is simply an effort to take advantage of a tax deduction before year end, but I believe there’s more to it. The Thanksgiving holiday reminds us of how much we’ve been blessed. Beyond the turkey and stuffing, we feel a sense of gratitude for the good in our lives.

When we are able to rise above the commercialism, Christmas reminds us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We remember the gift of the Magi, and the gift of the Christ Child. We feel more of a kinship with all people. Hopefully, we become a bit more like Tiny Tim, and a bit less like Scrooge.

Giving comes in many forms. Donating money is wonderful and necessary, but sometimes we give more when we give of ourselves. By volunteering our time, we serve others, while blessing ourselves. We feel more of a connection to the cause.

Wayne Dyer, Ph.D. once shared a great story about Mother Teresa. He said that she had gone to a city in Florida for the opening of a new homeless shelter. While there, she was asked to do a radio interview to share specifics about the facility. When she arrived at the studio, the station staff were struck by the presence and humble demeanor of this very small, elderly lady. After the interview ended, and they were off the air, the D.J. continued his conversation with Mother Teresa. He said that he was moved by her mission and wanted to personally do more to help. He offered to stage a major fund raising drive, but she softly told him that they had all the money they needed. He asked if he could do more to publicize the new shelter, but she said her team would get the word out. With some frustration, he asked if there wasn’t something that he could do. He really wanted to do something, but she wasn’t accepting his offers. She then looked directly in his eyes and softly said that there was something he could do. She said, “Get up really early tomorrow morning. Go out on the street and find someone who thinks he is alone, and convince him that he’s not.

This Christmas, it would do us all good to find someone who thinks he or she is alone, and convince them that they are not. And who knows, we might like the practice enough to continue it the rest of the year!

I’m a psychologist, who helps people who have sustained self-esteem wounds from past negative experiences, overcome those wounds and experience a more positive self-worth, so they can live more joyful and satisfying lives.