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The Many Forms of Giving:How Donating Can Enrich Your Life and Make the World a Better Place

Founding and running a non-profit foundation that saves and cares for abandoned and abused animals requires a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work. However, this mission comes with the added responsibility of ensuring the foundation's financial sustainability. As a result, I often find myself wondering how we can continue to fund our operations. It's difficult not to question how we ended up in a society with so much suffering and inequality. One thing is certain: it wasn't because we were overflowing with generosity, compassion, and responsibility. It's unrealistic to believe that donating will solve all of society's problems, as they are all intricate and multifaceted. While politicians and religious figures may offer quick-fix solutions, we know that real progress requires collaboration across diverse perspectives and contexts.

It's remarkable that we still haven't grasped the idea that serving others is the key to creating a better world and feeling good about ourselves. If you were to ask anyone at random if they'd like to help make the world a better place, I'm confident they'd say yes. As humans, we have a natural desire to make a difference, connect, and contribute. Even children enjoy giving and engaging with others. Fortunately, I've had the privilege of meeting people who have experienced a significant transformation in their lives after realizing that serving others brings them joy and happiness. Giving has a profound and lasting impact on us, according to research, but it must be socially connected. This means that there must be a connection between the giver and the receiver. Simply writing a check or giving money won't suffice if you go through life harming others in some other way.

In a world where superficiality, self-absorption, and appearances reign supreme, we find ourselves lost in our cell phones, waiting for the perfect "selfie" moment. However, this way of thinking often leads to feelings of depression and anxiety. The more we are suspicious of our collective, the more unbalanced we become. When we disregard the importance of others, we in turn diminish our own sense of worth. It is a vicious cycle of self-centeredness and loneliness that is driving mental health statistics to plummet. Despite the fact that our quality of life - our health, psychological well-being, social relationships, and environment - has improved, we are becoming increasingly unhappy. Social media has only created a virtual world where self-celebration is never-ending, but it does not replace the connections we need with other human beings to keep us balanced and foster a sense of community. Serving and giving to others is an opportunity to open our hearts and strengthen our relationships with those around us. Connecting with causes that extend beyond our individual concerns provides a space to recalibrate our egos and broaden our horizons. Doing so provokes positive emotions of gratitude, happiness, and satisfaction. It's time to break the cycle of self-centeredness and embrace the power of connection.

Donating doesn't just mean giving money - it can take many forms, including time, talent, and knowledge. Despite common misconceptions, research shows that even those with limited resources can benefit from donating. It can fill our emotional tank and soul and give us the courage to continue helping and giving. Rather than getting bogged down by negativity and feelings of helplessness, we should embrace optimism and focus on small acts of generosity and solidarity. By making a conscious effort to contribute every day, no matter how small the act, we can create a more just, compassionate, and inclusive world. It's not about doing extraordinary things or making grand gestures - it's as simple as leaving water out for community cats, buying an extra coffee for someone in need, or offering a friendly smile and greeting. These small acts can make a big difference and bring happiness into our lives and the lives of those around us. Let's work together to create an extraordinary world for ourselves and all those who share it with us.

Úrsula Aragunde Kohl, Clinical Psychologist, Professor and Researcher UAGM, Gurabo

Cristina Adrianza, School Psychologist, Humane Educator

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