I never saw the point giving to charity.
They say you should give till it hurts.
Well, back when I was still giving money to charity, it hurt. And when I saw other donors giving hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, I thought to myself, “What difference does my $100 or even $1,000 make?”
I couldn’t see the point. And after a while, I stopped giving altogether. No one noticed. No one missed it.
I was right — it didn’t make any difference whatsoever. But to me, it made a difference; I had more money to spend.
I always thought that if you wanted to do charity work, it should make a difference. Otherwise, why do it?
I thought that charity work was reserved for the wealthy, the ones who had become rich from taking from society. That’s why they were always giving back to society.
I thought giving to charity was the topmost of the financial pyramid.
First, you need to protect your income, pay off debt, save for your life goals, invest for retirement. And only after you’ve provided for yourself and your family, do you start to provide for others.
After all, what’s the point of helping others if you yourself are in need of help?
I thought charity was something that was done only by those who no longer worry about money, only by those who have more than enough.
They say that you don’t know the meaning of enough until you have more than enough. You need to really experience what it means to have so much that you can’t possibly consume it all by yourself.
That’s more than enough.
You don’t need to be wealthy to have more than enough. In fact, you don’t even need money to have more than enough. And it’s not just a feeling; it’s reality. You really have so much more than enough that you cannot finish consuming it before it spoils.
I’m not talking just about food.
Let’s talk clothes. I have so many shirts that even if I were to wear one and throw it away every day for the rest of my life, I still would not run out of clothes to wear. And the clothes would have been eaten by insects and moths long before I finished wearing them.
That’s more than enough.
When you have more than enough, you start to experience the pain of waste. Even letting your excess sit and rot at home is waste, because someone else out there could be putting it to use.
Nowadays, people like to declutter and live a minimalist lifestyle. That involves getting rid of a lot of stuff, which also go to waste. When people renovate their homes, shift houses or declutter, they throw away a lot of stuff that they have accumulated. I’ve been guilty of it too when I shifted from a 4-room flat to a 3-room flat. The stuff just can’t fit, so they had to go.
That’s waste. And we waste a lot. So much that it hurts. I feel guilty of having wasted so much.
You probably do too.
Did you know that almost every physical thing that you have spent money to buy, can be obtained for free? Because someone out there has already thrown it away. They would have given it to you if they knew you wanted it and could use it.
Because like you and me, people don’t like to waste. But it costs time, money, and mental occupation to hold on to something until they find the right person to give it to. So what do they do? They wrap it in plastic bags and leave it for other people to find and take.
You probably do too.
So if you can get for free almost every physical thing that you normally buy, your expenses will drop significantly, possibly by a few hundred dollars, or even thousands of dollars a month.
This means two things:
- You get to spend more on the things that are hard to get for free, such as holidays.
- You get to spend less time working for money.
People these days are always talking about work-life balance.
People these days are always worried about having enough money for retirement, yet they want to retire before they’re 50 years old.
In the past, I thought that this was not possible. But now I’ve seen that it is possible for an average person to retire at age 35, that you don’t need a lot of money to retire early. There is a way, a way that everyone can do. But not everyone will do.
Because unfortunately, this way also leads you to experience having more than enough. In fact, because you have more than enough, it can be quite distressing to live with it. Everywhere you walk at home, you bump into things because there’s just so much stuff.
You have to do something about it.
You have to give it away.
We got it wrong.
Charity isn’t really about helping other people; it’s about helping yourself. You are the main beneficiary of charity.
The more you give, the more generous you feel.
The more generous you feel, the less you want.
The less you want, the happier you feel.
That is why charity is present in every religion. Not mainly to help the less fortunate, but charity exists so that you can find happiness in life.
Not everyone can find happiness in doing charity work, just like how I was in the past. Back then, when I was still having the perspective of not having enough, I found no happiness in giving to charity.
But after having experienced the anguish of more than enough, charity became a salve and solution.
Only the ones who have first experienced the anguish of having more than enough can find happiness from doing charity work.
Charity is not giving till you hurt; it’s hurting till you give.