Generosity Blog

Generosity: Help yourself by helping others

By Cory McCoy

“Sometimes the best way to solve your problems is to help someone else.”

While that line may sound like timeless words of wisdom, it’s actually from a cartoon. With those words, fan favorite Uncle Iroh was telling the titular hero of Legend of Korra that in order to work through the problem at hand, she first needed to help the people it was impacting most. It’s a call back to the show’s predecessor series when Iroh is shown helping a series of people on the anniversary of his son’s death.

In Sources of Strength, one of the strengths we can focus on is generosity, because as Iroh demonstrated, sometimes what we need most to quiet our soul is to do good for others.

“Generosity can look a lot of different ways, from donating money or time, to being intentionally kind to other people. These acts of kindness towards others, big or small, can make an impact on how we feel about ourselves.”

In a clinical study by Griffith University, researchers tasked participants with practicing both gratitude and kindness in order to measure the mental well-being outcomes. They found that participants in the kindness portion reported “greater satisfaction with life, increased optimism and connectedness with others, and lower anxiety.” The participants in the gratitude portion reported similar outcomes.

In layman’s terms, helping others is good for you.

Because generosity can take many forms, anyone can do it. Whether it’s donating your time, skills, resources or money, there is always a way to help. In fact, one of the most valuable ways a person can practice generosity is by just being generous with their time. We all lead busy lives, and it can be hard to pull ourselves away, but finding the time to do so for a friend or community member can have a big impact on them and make them feel valued.

Can you recall a time when a busy friend or mentor took the time to just sit with you and be supportive?

Helping has become more complicated with the novel coronavirus pandemic, but that just means the need is greater than ever.

The East Texas Food Bank has seen a huge increase in East Texans who need help, but they need volunteers, donors and community support to carry out their mission. Ways to help include volunteering at their warehouse or for distributions, donating money, or hosting virtual food drives. Even if you don’t have the money to give right now, you can still help raise awareness on social media. By amplifying posts calling for volunteers or donations, your favorite charitable organizations have a greater reach to get the word out.

Every year around the holidays I search for giving initiatives that help causes I’m passionate about, both locally and across the country, and donate in $10 to $25 increments to each. While there is no end to online platforms to help give, I like to use DonorsChoose because if a project meets its goals, they will give you credit for your donation to put toward a different need.

Keep in mind that no single strength is enough to build hope and resiliency, that’s why we use the Strengths Wheel in Sources of Strength. By pairing strengths, we create a toolkit that sees regular use in our lives, so that when the bad days come, we have those strengths to lean on.Sources of Strength Wheel

Little by little, day by day, we hope to give our time, energy and support to build a community of hope, help and strength.

So, if you’re looking for ways to help others, this post could not have come at a better time. Nonprofits across East Texas are seeing unprecedented need, and Giving Tuesday is set for December 1. The United Way of Smith County has set up a platform to donate to 22 local organizations at Tylergives.org.

We’re also using this blog to launch a list of community resources, so please take some time and read through the list of folks in our area who are working toward building a happier and healthier East Texas.

And of course, if you value the work we do at Next Step Community Solutions, you can donate directly at Nextstepcs.kindful.com.

Your donations help ensure we can provide counseling services to more than 50 schools in the region at no charge, help build our Sources of Strength program to lay a foundation for more resilient students and help teens take a stand against alcohol and substance abuse in their communities.