How do you react to pain? What are you inclined to do to deal with your suffering? It is highly common for most people to turn inward when they are going through something negative. To hide their feelings away, which can lead to the inevitable result of lashing out. So why not skip internalizing your feelings and decide to act outwardly in the first place? This is what we call contributing.

Contributing can be a useful tool and works to not only distract from our own pain or discomfort, but it also impacts others in a helpful way. When we actively contribute, we turn our attention to someone else’s wellbeing, which takes the focus and attention off of ourselves. Contributing can also increase our sense of meaning in life.

Other ways we use to describe the act of contributing include, but are not limited to: giving time, donating money, supplying items, pitching in, lending a hand, gifting items, and giving back to the community.

One way I contribute during the holidays is by helping my grandmother wrap gifts for all of her children and grandchildren. My grandmother taught me how to wrap presents when I was about five years old and to this day, I pride myself on my wrapping skills. Therefore, not only am I able to help her out, but I’ve also mastered wrapping presents and always enjoy my time with her!

Here are some suggestions of ways to contribute this holiday season:

  • Jump in and play with kids so that their parents can relax and enjoy their holiday gatherings
  • Offer to help set up or clean up while attending a party
  • Offer to help an elderly person to their car, or offer to drive them home or pick them up. 
  • Gather supplies to donate to any nonprofits that are collecting for those in need
  • Smile and say hello to a stranger at the store
  • Lend a hand to someone putting groceries in their car
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Start a holiday toy drive at your office

These are just a few suggestions, but the possibilities are endless! Check out other ideas here, learn how to donate here, and discover wonderful charities here!

Contributing is a skill that can be used even if you are in need of help in your daily life. Something that might be easy for you may be difficult for others. Beware of comparing yourself to others or minimizing what you can offer to someone else. The simple act of seeing, hearing, listening, and simply BEING completely present with someone is sometimes the most precious gift of all!

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