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Give it a thought!

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The meaning of “give” is donate, share, sacrifice or hand over something valuable or useful to someone else. Giving is a satisfying experience because it increases the feeling of caring, camaraderie and compassion. As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

All religions extol the virtues of giving and place the giver on a higher pedestal. Karna in the Mahabharata and Joseph in the Bible were fabled givers even at a loss to themselves. Much value has traditionally been attached to giving.

To give means to bestow, transfer the possession of something, convey information, transmit, contribute to a cause, convey physically or administer a medicine — varying according to the context. Intangible giving — a compliment, a smile, a smirk, a frown or a gesture — can make or mar a relationship and alter a person’s mood and performance. A look given across the room to a parent going in for surgery can relieve her stress. A toothy grin from your child gives you the energy to keep working. A smile can give the much-needed assurance to a young bride. The body language of a teenager can give the hapless parent an idea of the youngster’s mood.

One can give consent, a shoulder to lean on, a helping hand, a listening ear or an earful as the situation demands! One can give support to a cause or give one’s word to a person in need. The best thing to give to a person who has erred and is repentant is another chance. It is often said that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Generosity, trust, empathy, understanding, caring and charity — all these are facets of the act of giving. Life gives everyone an opportunity to make a difference and to alleviate suffering, ease hunger and pain. We celebrate the Joy of Giving Week in early October — a testimony to the value and importance that people attach to the act of giving. It has been proved that giving stimulates the mesolimbic pathway, which is the reward centre of the brain, releases endorphins and creates what is known as the “helper’s high”. As John D. Rockefeller said, “Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” Giving inspires giving. Receivers often pay it forward and give to others, perpetuating a cycle of giving. Give with no strings attached and you will receive in the same manner. Give your best to the world and the best will be given back to you. What you give, lives.

The thought of giving leads us to think of volunteering, which involves giving of one’s time, expertise, knowledge and effort for the welfare of the less privileged. If you are inspired by the act of giving, think of taking up volunteering as well.

To quote James Matthew Barrie, “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.” You can do a lot of good through small acts of kindness for the less privileged around us. Find a voluntary organisation that will give you the advantage of an established platform for service, with systems and a constituency of beneficiaries in place. Give yourself the best chance of giving.

datar.himani@gmail.com


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 12:24:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/give-it-a-thought/article35652547.ece

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