GIVING in all shapes & sizes

This is a layered article, so try to keep up.

Giving. Not just giving presents, like now during Christmas time, but giving in general. Just because it`s THAT time of year again to give and spoil loved ones and friends DOES NOT mean we can forget about the remainder of the year. What I`ve realized through just my own experience, that giving is so much more than receiving… cheesy I know, but I am definitely one of those people who gets more excited about giving my gift to my loved ones or friends then I am about receiving. The joy is everything. Giving also doesn't actually have to be an actual gift. Giving can be small, ACTIONS, a nice hug to a buddy who needs it, a polite comment, or a huge “hooray” for someone who accomplished something great. This is kind of where love languages come into play, and if you haven’t looked up YOUR love language then I would say DO IT because it will not only help you with your intimate relationships but also your friendships. Knowing what peoples’ needs are not only essential to your life but knowing your own needs will honestly do a great deal of good with your relationship with yourself: SELF-LOVE. People forget they need to give to themselves as well. Giving is good for you, trust me.

I have worked on countless non-profit projects and all of them have been about, you guessed it: giving. The effect of these non-profit initiatives is one you feel to your core: they stay with you. Forever. With my recent move, I felt that all of my regular connections to the non-governmental world were lost, and to be very honest I have been working on myself. But something happened on my trip to Greece in August that changed my perspective on giving, something I hadn’t really considered before…

Storytime with Sara-Lynn: As some of you may know going to Corfu, Greece changed me massively. It GAVE me so much understanding of self-love, appreciation of nature (again), confidence, prosperity, and about ALL self-LOVE. In fact, it gave me so much LOVE in my body, mind, and soul that I remember even asking myself “how is it possible and how is it fair that I feel this HAPPY, this full of LOVE?!” I was honestly just shaking with gratitude and love. I remember the moment walking down the narrow path to the beach and realizing that I had- what felt like, almost- too much, LOVE which leads me to want to GIVE! And its funny thinking about it now, that every trip I have taken solo, I always end up giving things away right out of my suitcase… but more on that later. Anyways on this little path I thought about where I could give, and being me I, of course, thought about where I would want to give and feel the most outside of my comfort zone… funny enough it wasn't on some international project but rather local hospitals. Not sure why that popped into my mind but it did and I went with it. The entire overwhelming feeling of love I felt was immediately related to giving, the sheer WANT to give someone, ANYONE this feeling that I felt, this feeling of sheer LOVE, happiness, and gratitude. That night of course I tipped my waiter- which happened to be the owner of the backcountry nook which I was staying at- lets just say- I tipped a lot, meditated on the good I wanted to create in the world, researched places I would be able to volunteer once returning to Berlin, reaching out to people who I knew needed some sunshine in their life, and went to sleep that night feeling full- but a little less than before. Happy and self-loving. At the end of that trip I gave all of the books I had brought with me to the local beach pavilion, these books were pretty magical, and definitely helped shape who I am today. I guess my hope was that it would do the same for someone else.

On a side note: the trip I took to Los Angeles by myself last year ended with me giving at least 50% of my clothing to a local non-profit collecting clothes for the homeless.

In conclusion, self-love literally results in giving. Fact. I am proof. So this holiday season consider this: give a little to yourself & see what happens. I don't mean BUY that Sephora-whatever or that skateboard or whatever it is, I mean really give yourself something money can’t buy. Give yourself time, quality time might I add, with yourself.

Watch what happens... something like giving to those less fortunate might happen, and if that's that case check out these SUPER rad sites that get creative when it comes to giving:

or just keep it simple:

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