"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us."
– Marianne Williamson
When I first read that quote, it made me question its legitimacy. After all, have you ever heard of a child being afraid of the light? I haven’t.
But then I really started considering it…
How many times have you wanted to stand up for someone, reach out and share a word of encouragement or do any small act of kindness – only to talk yourself out of it. You decide that it’s not appropriate, or that it’s not your business to get involved.
Perhaps Marianne Williamson is on to something. Perhaps, deep down, we’re terrified of the power we each have to do good in this world. Perhaps our biggest fear lies in the true meaning of giving back to others around us… Just perhaps.
We Give Because We’re All Connected
Yes, the rise of the Internet and mobile devices connects us in new and exciting ways. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
Our connection runs much deeper than that.
Each of us – regardless of race, religion or creed – are just uniquely formed balls of energy. In fact, there’s a theory that proposes an existence of a primal web of energy that connects our bodies, the world and everything in the universe one with another.
But even beyond your view of God, a higher power, primal web of energy… It’s clear that our empathy and love of humankind connects us.
It’s why an enormous tragedy in Paris prompts millions of Facebook users to place a Paris flag overlay as their profile picture. It’s why billions of dollars are donated to charity each year. It’s why doctors in First World countries give up the comfort of their prestigious career to pursue causes like Doctors Without Borders.
The common human experience of love, joy, pain and suffering extends beyond nationalities, religious differences and language barriers.
And so we give.
Not for any superficial reason, though many could be stated. But because there’s an unexplained internal pull toward others. We give because we can’t not give. The desire to give back is at the core of our human connection.
We Give Because We’re All Leaders
Each generation has one primary responsibility: Leave the world in a better place than you found it, and empower the next generation to do the same.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what social class you identify with or whether you’ve ever considered yourself a leader – someone looks up to you. And that makes it your responsibility to leave the world a better place.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories of people who lived alone in poverty, but still managed to inspire the entire community through their acts of love and kindness.
We give because the substance of our legacy depends on it.
You don’t have to give millions of dollars, serve on the board of charities or give away free cars in order to make a difference. Sometimes - it’s the smallest gifts make the largest impact. You’d be surprised how impactful a simple donation or small act of kindness can change a life.
And it’s those memories living in the minds of others that keep our legacy alive for the next generation.
We Give Because We’re All in This Together
Ultimately, giving comes down to one simple truth: we’re all a part of the same earth family. You may give from prosperity and abundance today, but a devastating tragedy could strike tomorrow, leaving you hungry and without.
But families help one another. So as you plan to give during this holiday season and throughout the upcoming year, do it from a place of love and respect for your fellow brother and sister.
Whether you’re giving to a charity like Relief from Pain, or serving in an underdeveloped country, we’re all working toward the same cause: making this world a better place. Not only for this generation, but for every generation that comes after us.