I know its mid-August but Dr. Suess’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is on heavy rotation at our house. Do you remember when the Grinch’s heart gets so big that it actually bursts through its frame and breaks it? That’s our favorite part. If you need a refresher, the Grinch realizes helping others and giving back was a much better way of living and his heart changes. He was then invited in for Christmas dinner by the poor Whos who almost had their Christmas ruined; talk about forgiveness! They all dined at the table while he sliced the Roast Beast, letting bygones be bygones.
I felt like my career in mortgage banking was all about helping people. They were buying homes with the money that I secured for them. Homes they would make memories in and raise their families in. When I changed careers and began making jewelry, at first I felt it was a little self-indulgent. I love being creative. Hiding away in my studio to churn out beautiful adornments is my happy spot, but there was something missing. My heart wanted to do more.
I have an honest confession: when I get caught up in life, it can be difficult to step back and realize how good I have it. When compared to most of the world’s population we are truly blessed, but sometimes tend to show little gratitude for a roof over our head, an education, and the ability to have balanced meals on our tables. We live in an insanely wealthy country but our society and its marketing tells us that we need more things, better things to be truly happy. I’ll admit it’s a lie I believed for a long time. So where do we find happiness and a deeper sense of meaning? Maybe the Grinch was on to something.
I have been a believer in The Denver Rescue Mission for a long time. It’s an incredible organization based here in Denver, but its reach is all over Colorado and into the hearts of thousands of people per year. I went down to the Champa House this month to give them my first ‘batch’ of bracelets. For every piece of jewelry I sell, I give a bracelet to a woman or child at the Champa House. My heart became so big that it also busted its gold frame. For some, regardless of where they live, it’s been a long time since they were told they were worthy of a small gift. In this instance, they don’t have to give something in return, they don’t have to pay, they don’t even have to say thank you. My hope is that every time they look at that bracelet on their wrist, they know that they are good enough just as they are. All of us are. The staff was grateful and I was grateful.
There’s a feeling you get when you give back. Are you familiar with it? I love that warm, fuzzy emotion, and as it turns out, we are hard-wired to have that sensation. There’s been study after study of the actual effects of helping others and the impact that it has on the helper. So not only are you helping someone who needs it, but you yourself are being positively impacted in numerous ways. Studies have shown helping others lowers stress, promotes a deeper sense of one’s purpose, inspires gratitude and enriches your overall well-being. So the take-away is that we are made, as humans, to be inspired by giving back, ultimately creating an upward spiral of well-being for everyone involved!
Granted what I do is a very small way of helping others and I want to do much more, but it feels good. I am truly inspired by others every day. I love talking with people who change the world. I enjoy reading about people who have made small impacts to others that turned out to have monumental impact further down the line. We all raise our game when we surround ourselves with people like this. Who knew that helping others could become a catalyst to allow the world to become a better place to live in?
The Grinch, that’s who.