We’ll be the first to admit that life is not about money. But when you don’t have enough money, it suddenly takes over every thought and moment and robs you of your quality of life. Money means a lot more to those who have none or can’t make ends meet. It might not be able to buy happiness or keep you company, but money is needed to keep up a standard of living where you are comfortable. Being comfortable is having what you need, but few people stop there and fall into the trap of always wanting more comfort and more things. This often leads to bad debt, guilt and stress.
While we can be perfectly happy with little, it’s a process. Society teaches you that you can buy comfort and that you deserve a more expensive lifestyle. People who really live below the bread line don’t even have the ability to be content with what they have – for them it is a struggle for survival. This puts living with less into perspective! Then it no longer seems like a sacrifice to budget your income as there are thousands of South Africans who have no income at all. We aren’t encouraged to save or be generous. In fact, the opposite is true, we are encouraged by advertisements everywhere to spend on ourselves and our families. You can break the cycle of endless spending on things you don’t really need be learning the difference between wants and needs and being content with what you have.
Reaching out and helping people can really make a difference in how people few their lives by putting things in perspective. Have you ever thought about being more generous, about thinking about others while planning your expenses for the month or what you are going to do with your weekend? That’s exactly what millions of amazingly generous people do to relieve others’ financial burdens or just helping where they can.
What’s their secret? Why do they keep giving? Maybe they’re so rich they don’t even know what to do with their money. But I’m guessing that’s not the case. We live in a world where it’s almost impossible to have too much money. The more you earn the more things you will find to spend on as your standard of living becomes more expensive to maintain. Besides, it’s not just the rich and famous who make a point of helping those around them, be it financially, by volunteering or opening their homes to the less fortunate.
I have a theory: the causes that people align themselves with give them a greater sense of purpose in life. Feeling like you are a part of something bigger and that there are other people who feel the same way, that want to better the lives of others too, gives you hope for the human race!
When you make a point of being generous, it means that you have empathy with those who are less fortunate than you and by reaching out to them, joining them in their environment to help out or helping someone who crosses your path, it makes you more aware of how fortunate you are. We tend to look at our own lives like it’s the world we live in and then things can get pretty overwhelming, but there are millions of others who are going through the same things and much worse.
Through the centuries, change in culture and societies have often started when a small group of people decided to stand up to correct the wrongs of the world. Sometimes it was for their own good but I’d like to think that it was mostly for the good of other people, races, or species. When we can change the lives of the people and animals around us and protect the environment, we are making our own lives better and ensuring a future for our children.
To quote Abraham Lincoln, “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that’s my religion.”