“When 500 people pass you by, and most of them don’t even look at you…that is when you feel you are worth nothing, not even a hello or a smile.”
-A homeless man on Market St. San Francisco.
By Lupita Peimbert.
This isn’t pertinent to the Holidays only. People get plenty of opportunities to be compassionate during all seasons. People in a true sharing community know how to give. It isn’t about ‘charity‘ as we have known it. Giving never gets old but how we do it certainly can.
By updating our views on how we give, and taking actions that show a renewed perspective, we’ll become better givers and receivers. We’ll also look less arrogant.
For your consideration, here are some views and ideas for how to share these days:
- Forget About Charity
I mean, forget about the common use of this concept and word. Charity, as in I am superior and better than others; my grandiosity gets bigger when I help the little people, is obsolete. Sharing as in, We are equal despite our different circumstances; we both win by experiencing giving and receiving. That’s in!
- Check Yourself Before Writing a Check
If you are making a money donation to avoid or lessen taxes, is it truly an act of giving? Or Could I give a little more? Is this the right organization to give to?But wait. Do people even write checks these days?
- Look Outside Your Purse
Quality time, any time you may have, talent, skills, clothes, home items, and other non-cash donations can make a big difference, especially when you donate one-to-one. Volunteering, mentoring or finding a recipient on your own works, and you won’t even have to open your wallet.
- Follow Your Callings
Sometimes on our way to work or elsewhere we see someone we’d like to help, but we keep going, not listening to that voice that is calling for help. It may be inconvenient for a moment, but it is far more rewarding when following your callings leads you to make a difference in someone’s day.
- Stop Making Harsh Judgments
A person on the streets asks for help and we dismiss them by assuming that what we see is what they are: drug addicts, crazy people, alcoholics, old, lazy, losers, too young to be asking for help, and so on. We have no idea where they come from nor how they got there. When we Judge them harshly we put ourselves in a higher place, awakening our egotistical perfect self.
- Accept The Poor and the Dirty
That is a hard one in countries where “rich” has become one of the best ways to attribute higher values to human beings, and “clean” has turned neurotic. We are afraid of poor, and of dirty, both as concepts and realities. We use perfumes and aromas in our created lives, and yet, lacks of and bad smells actually are part of the human experience, don’t you think?
- Small Acts of Giving Do Make a Difference
A smile, a Good Morning, one dollar, one jacket, a cup of coffee, a sleeping bag, or buying a person on the streets a decent meal can change their day, even when you do it just one time. Offering help to a stranger, bringing used furniture to someone who may need it, paying for someone’s visit to a doctor, do make a difference, whether you do that with a stranger or family member.
- Let Your Words Show How Nice You Are
When you want to give ask if it is okay to give, so that the person has a saying in the interaction. For one thing, they may say “No,” and that is okay. For another, it shows respect and care. Please make sure you are not condescending, and do not sound arrogant. Giving is an act of sharing, not a charity. This applies to helping out friends and even coworkers.
- The Easiest, Simple Thing You Can Do Anytime
A bright, homeless man soliciting on Market St. in San Francisco told me not long ago: “When 500 people pass you by, and most of them don’t even look at you…that is when you feel you are worth nothing, not even a hello or a smile.”