In Praise of the People who Give a Little

When did apathy become the next big thing? When did compassion become a sign of weakness? And most importantly, where did the idea that people are two-dimensional come from? That a person can either be good or evil. Giving or selfish. A lover or a fighter. Intelligent or foolish. Prudent or reckless.

We live in a world of extremes, filled with grand gestures of either love or hatred. Anything less than the most romantic gesture is inadequate and anything more than bump on the shoulder was a targeted attack meant to ruin a person's day. We live in a world of more. More food, more wealth, more consumption, more smiles, more tears, more love, and more animosity. This is not only unattainable, but it's also unsustainable.

A person can only give so much love until they run out. They can only eat so much until their stomach capacity implodes. Alcohol can only be consumed to a certain limit until memories are lost, clothing is ruined, brain cells disappear and relationships are destroyed. This is not to say that every individual needs to revert to a minimalist lifestyle, subsisting on the bare minimum of food, water, and human interaction. Rather, I am saying that we need to reevaluate where we place value on life.

In life, happiness is rarely made of the large, elaborate gestures or events that we share on social media or watch in movies. No. Instead the little things are the building blocks of our happiness and I am not just saying this because I am one of those amazing little things, a 4'11" burst of energy. I'm saying this because I truly believe that the smallest gestures are the ones that matter the most.

The most important moments in life are the moments where we are overwhelmed by the smallest acts of compassion or displays of beauty. It could be a hug from a friend after your dog dies, a spontaneous note of gratitude from someone you haven't spoken to in a while or the first sign of sunshine after days of rain. Ultimately, these little deeds are what have the largest impact on making the world a better place. But why? It's true, 5,000 dollars goes farther than 5 dollars. But not everyone has 5,000 dollars to give away. And not everyone has 5 dollars to give away. But everyone has a little something to contribute to the world, be it a smile, an expression of gratitude, or an action taken to stand up to a social injustice.

The world may seem like a dark place right now, but I have found that looking for the givers always helps to eliminate this darkness. More importantly though, becoming a giver of these small gestures means you will carry a light with you that becomes impossible to put out. And who knows? You might just inspire someone else to become a giver as well.

If you'd like to become a giver but don't know where to start consider a simple act of kindness, which will improve the lives of a community in India by bringing 231 toilets to 231 families. Helping to give these families something so simple, yet taken for granted; and so seemingly little, yet life-saving and uplifting. Follow the link below to get involved: