Think about the next. Why do we give (and why is it good for us to do so)?

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Beyond the material value, what is the deep meaning of the gift? What are the benefits of the to donate? What is the difference between gift and gift? Why are there people who don’t know how to donate, regardless of Christmas or the occasion?

We talked about it with the experts of, who explained to us how in psychology the act of giving is interpreted as an act of “Healthy selfishness, well regarded”. In what sense? Read on to learn more.

What is the deep meaning of the gift, beyond the material value?
“When we talk about to donate, we mean something tangible or intangible that a person voluntarily gives without expecting something in return. But is giving a completely altruistic and spontaneous act? Not really, because the action of the gift can be motivated by different feelings:

The feeling of social responsibility, which motivates us to help those in need around us. Not all people feel the same social responsibility, this is determined by the level of empathy, commitment and compassion we have for those around us.

The feeling of fairness, which occurs when the person believes or feels that he has to compensate in some way for a behavior or an act that he has knowingly or unknowingly committed and that has caused damage. Here the engine is the sense of guilt.

The feeling of reciprocity, for which people make donations based on the benefit they get. This benefit can be tangible or intangible, for example a positive experience ».

What are the benefits of donating?
“The main benefit of the gift is that you are helping a cause and contributing to improvement of society, whatever the type of donation. But giving also helps us to feel better about ourselves, since through these actions a feeling of belonging to a group or collective is awakened in us, which shares our same values. They help us to develop our empathic and compassionate capacity and, in general, they favor our individual and collective well-being ».

What is the difference between gift and gift?
«The gift involves both giving and receiving, while this is not the case with the gift. From psychology, the act of giving is interpreted as an act of “Selfishness well regarded”. When we give a gift for a birthday, a wedding, for Christmas … we expect the other to give us a gift too, it is an act of giving and receiving, most of the time tangible goods.

On the other hand, when we donate, we expect nothing from the otheralthough the act we perform awakens a feeling of well-being in us, we get nothing from the other and do not expect to get anything from them. That satisfaction comes from ourselves ».

There are people who don’t know how to donate, why?
«The action of giving is motivated by different feelings. One of the main factors behind the gift is the empathic ability, the commitment and compassion we have towards the people around us, and not everyone has these abilities. Many people fail to grasp what it means to live in society, or are not aware of it, and therefore do not feel the responsibility that this entails. Then there are people who are not endowed with a great empathic capacity, and this means that they cannot feel compassion for another person and do not have the impetus and the desire to want to help. And finally there are people who do not conceive of giving without receiving something in return, therefore they do not believe in the value of the act of giving, because they do not understand its necessity “.

Learning to donate is possible

Here are some tips to learn how to donate at different levels, with daily gestures, towards the people around us, or with specific actions by leaning on specific organizations. Find them below.

Other stories of Vanity Fair that may interest you are:

Women and good intentions 2022: finding the right balance in life. Here’s how it’s done

11 acts of kindness to do at Christmas (and in life in general!)



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