Some people scoff at the idea that charity makes us feel better about ourselves. They figure that this is just something that people say in order to manipulate others into giving to charity, and that it is not a natural inclination that they would have without the requisite social engineering. The entire foundation of society is built on people being willing to help others, naturally, but plenty of people are still resistant to the idea because they take society and a good portion of what it offers for granted in more ways than one.
What I want to tell you is that there is a great deal of scientific evidence stating that giving to others really does feel incredibly good. When given the choice between giving something to others and keeping it for themselves, the people who choose to give something to others reported a higher degree of happiness than the people who were just interested in being self-serving. One of the secrets to being happy in the first place is to help others, which is the sort of conventional wisdom that a lot of people question, but which has a great deal of scientific evidence supporting it.
We evolved this desire to be social for a reason. Humans need each other in order to function in groups, and this is more important for us than it is for the majority of other animals. We would never survive on our own, given that we have fewer protections from the elements than the majority of animals. Our big strength has always been our brainpower. Brainpower, however, isn’t going to help you when you’re alone and you have no resources. Humanity created civilization with the help of other humans, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that if we did not have something of an innate desire to help one another. You tap into that innate desire each and every time you manage to help another person with anything.
Helping someone with something is going to stand out in your memory so much more as well. Lots of people don’t even remember a random sweater that they bought the one time. In a consumerist society, the purchases that people make have a tendency to blur together in one way or another. The times in which people help one another are the sorts of memories that you will save for posterity. They have much more meaning in a person’s life, and they always will.