Written by Michaela MacBlake Matthews
Most all of us know that it feels good to be kind, and to give back. After all, we have an entire month at the end of the year centered around giving and joy, and then a day for each person, housewarming, weddings, graduation, etc. As a culture, we love to give gifts for all sorts of occasions. But, have you ever wondered why?Not only is gift giving a friendly and neighborly act toward others, but it also has deep psychological benefits for the giver, as well.
Humans Are Social Creatures
As we evolved, humans became pretty well aware that the chances of surviving with a village were far greater than they would have been by our lonesome. Over time, our brains learned to recognize other’s facial expressions as a direct measure of our inclusion, and by extension, our safety.
Though ‘community’ and ‘lone wolf’ are both phrases that get tossed around to a point of numbness, they are very different methods for living your life. To be truly alone is not only a catalyst for depression, but it also increases your risk level for unforeseen circumstances. Likewise, having someone to reach out to for a cup of sugar or a word of encouragement can make a world of difference during difficult times.
When we participate in gift giving, we are actively tending to our needs for social connection, much like watering a garden or getting enough protein in your diet.
People Give Purpose
When it comes to stuff, there is stuff that we use, and stuff that we collect. Shopping can be both very enjoyable, and endless. Hunting for interesting, high quality items is very mentally stimulating! However, there comes a point where we have everything we really need, and we’ve gotten good at figuring out exactly what that is, and how to find it. (If you’ve ever suffered from buyer’s remorse, then you have probably reached that point yourself.)
When we shop for others, though, we’re issued a fresh new challenge. You know the old saying, two heads are better than one? Well, when we look for gifts, we get to use twice the personality power to search with. We look for what they’d like or what they might need, in a way that says it came from us, and possibly solves a problem in a way only we would think of.
In a world full of buyable stuff, other people give purpose, and make shopping fun again, guilt-free.
A Mindset Of Abundance
Lastly, and possibly the deepest benefit of being a giver, is putting yourself in a state of abundance. When we give, we let go of the fear that we ourselves might not have enough. The scarcity mindset, of having to conserve and hoard for ourselves, stems from the silent belief that we will not be successful. Scarcity thinking implies that we will fail, and therefore must start anticipating that failure now.
Unsurprisingly, the mindset of abundance brings more abundance. Giving comes with confidence, and it radiates a selfless, capable, and trustworthy energy that attracts opportunity.
Beautifully, with that opportunity, comes a deeper capacity to give.
"Mac" is on the Lifestyle Team here at Darn Good Yarn, and loves taking a ‘teach a man to fish’ approach to creative therapy. She is certified in neuro-linguistic programming, and is also the surreal artist and author behind Surrealismac.