Giving is.. multi-faceted.
Some give for the betterment of a cause - be it water, shelter, food or disaster relief. Some give to make another smile. Some give just for the sake of the volunteering spirit. Some give just to have something to write for a college admission essay. Some give to spread the word of the Gospel. Some give so that their country stands a fighting chance. Some give to receive more money after taxes.
Is there such a thing as genuine altruism? Can any act of giving be completely selfless or is there an underlying motive? The answers to these questions have been argued back and forth by various fields and various experts, leaving the act of giving in a state of controversy. In lieu of all this, now, envision a balance scale. One side carries the weight of the many reasons why people give. The other side carries the weight of what happens after the act of giving. In my mind, I imagine an instant thud - with the latter carrying more weight. There are so many powerful side effects that result with one act of giving.
Now I ask again, is there such a thing as genuine altruism. Regardless the answer, I believe, giving is something totally individual, something totally unique that cannot be shared by another. Whether or not we derive some sort of benefit from an act of giving, it does not matter. I believe that what is truly at stake here is the fact that you are experiencing a sensation that can only be shared with yourself. Let’s take Habitat for Humanity volunteers for example. All of these volunteers work towards one goal - to help create opportunities for and to give hope to an impoverished family by building or renovating a new home. But what do each volunteer take from this experience? Some may feel accomplished. Some may feel humbled. Some may feel inspired. This is why giving is so powerful - it evokes so many different, incomparable emotions.
Yet, there is a whole other side. There is a collective effect as well. With one act of giving, it triggers a whole chain reaction. I hate to do this but let’s include some logic (LSAT sufferer here). A —> B; B —> C; ergo, A—> C. Let’s take TOMS shoes. An unintentional act of giving. An individual (A) may have bought a pair of red Tom’s shoes just as a fashion statement (B). Unbeknownst to him/her, TOMS advocates a One for One Movement - for every pair of shoes purchased, the company would match it by giving a pair of shoes for a child in need (C). This cute red pair of shoes has given this poverty-stricken child not only new shoes but more opportunities as well. With actual shoes on his/her feet, the child can play sports and explore some hidden athletic talents. Through this collaborative, yet inadvertent string of events, the separate parties can give something to someone and achieve this act of giving completely unintentionally.
Giving is more than the individual, it is more than the group. Giving is beyond any type of action and outstrips any kind of emotion generated. Giving is done in various ways, through various people, and generates various emotions for the giver and the receiver — giving is multi-faceted.