Follow your heart. Listen to your heart. Your heart knows the way.
There are a lot of clichés that encourage you to be guided by what you feel and take action based on what you believe in your heart. And in this National Heart Month, rather than focus on physical heart health, let’s talk about emotional heart health.
You never know when one word or one helpful gesture or act of kindness can mean the world to someone else. Giving them reason to go on, to believe in goodness again, or to get through a rough patch. You don’t know when a smile hides incredible sadness and pain, and how reaching out in some way when the inclination strikes you can change the course of a life. The best we can do is to follow our hearts and try . . . not shying away from feelings, but paying attention to them.
The emotions and beliefs we have about giving are not something we talk about as much in the business world as in nonprofit circles. Disasters and deaths, though, can break through our veneer and are when we more publicly express emotions.
When it comes to charity, we give because of the good it will do—and the impact it can make. We also give because something that happens in life gets to us, and we want to make things better. We give because we care.
I’m borrowing from a familiar credit card commercial message, but I believe giving from your heart is “priceless.”
I know we’re a month past making resolutions for this year, and actually, I’m not asking you to make a new resolution for 2016. I’m asking you to make a resolution for your life: make giving from your heart a part of how you show up in the world.
I’m not going to try to sell you on the benefits of giving or why it makes us happy. I’ll just say this: giving money away can improve your health and is, quite literally, good for your heart.
And this heart month, I challenge you to listen, find what connects for you, and take action. Starting now.
Support what touches your heart
Have you lost a loved one to a terrible disease or personal tragedy? Give to help find a cure for the health issue that has personally touched you, to keep tragedy from striking other families, and to provide support for someone else who has to deal with it.
Are the commercials that show abused animals so hard to watch you switch the channel? Don’t push those emotions away, do something about it. If you aren’t in a position to give money, volunteer your time or donate old blankets—doing what you can for something you feel so strongly about. Put your energy to work so the day comes when there’s no reason for those commercials to exist.
Are you frustrated by our education system, worried that kids don’t have all the resources and opportunities they need to succeed, and concerned about what they’re not getting at school (food, support, exposure to the arts, more)? Give them access to what they need to change their lives.
Do you believe we need to make sure the basic needs of others around the world are taken care of? Support the nonprofits sending them global aid—for better health and life-saving services that we too often take for granted.
I have a sensitive heart. I feel things deeply, and family members and friends know that about me. But I don’t make any excuses for who I am. And I hope I’m known for being true to who I am, all the time. When I care, it’s sincere. When I feel it, I react. And when I give, it’s from my heart.
This month, I challenge you to do the same. Give from—and for—your heart. For your life.
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– Candy Culver