Have you ever heard that a butterfly’s wing flutter can significantly alter conditions elsewhere on the planet, even spawning tornadoes as far as 2 continents away? The scientific theory of ‘The Butterfly Effect’ suggests that a single act, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever! If this is true, imagine then how giving as an expression of gratitude can contribute to not only yourself and the recipient, but to the positive vibration of the entire universe as a whole!
We Have Much to be Thankful For
When you consider the level of poverty and oppression in vast regions of the world, chances are high you’re living a reality that many can only dream about. Yes, of course, we still have struggles and challenges, however, these are first world problems we face. If given the alternative, we’d, no doubt, gladly remain right where we are. In light of this perspective then, shouldn’t gratitude be a natural expression for all that we have? In light of the butterfly effect, can you imagine what change could occur if we all were willing to ‘Pay it Forward’ as a rule? Giving back as a way of expressing gratitude has the potential to change the world!
Why Giving is Living
Newly released research from a study by the University of British Columbia suggests that toddlers are happier when they give to others. The lead author, Prof. Lara Aknin, stated that “these findings show that children are actually happier giving than receiving.”
Studies have also found that volunteerism (defined as two hours per week over many years) reduces mortality rates by 40 percent.
Other studies have consistently shown that when we deliberately cultivate an attitude of gratitude, we increase our own well-being and happiness. In addition, grateful thinking—and especially engaging in expressions of gratitude to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.
A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people who pursued a specific altruistic goal, for instance, making someone smile, felt better than ‘to make someone happy.’ Framing a goal in concrete terms, according to the authors, lessens the gap between expectations and outcome, increasing our satisfaction. Furthermore, most of us realize that when we make the effort to give without expectations of reciprocity, we tend to feel fulfilled and even energized. In essence, serving others can be both good for your mental and physical health!
Pay it Forward to Change the World
Mother Theresa was best known for her giving. In fact, she lived a life of selflessness like no other in recent history. She once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless.” Today and everyday, let’s resolve to speak and live a life of gratitude. It’s from this place that we can change the world!
My nine year old grandson shared a secret with me. The secret was that we had a special birthday present for his mother. He was literally dancing around the house, his big brown eyes shining, asking me “now? Now?” When we were able to give my daughter her gift, Alijah was happier than if the present was for himself.
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing Ladeane! Children are indeed great teachers (and reminders) of what’s really important!