Health & Fitness

By Mary Corradino

Mention charity, and I am assailed by guilty feelings. It is a shameful admission, particularly for a life coach, but I never feel that I give enough. Many times, my good intentions for donating time and money to numerous worthy causes take a back seat to other life commitments. I won’t list excuses – some valid, others weak – because I don’t want to be let off the hook. I recognize the importance of sharing one’s good fortune, be it your money, time or energy, with others. Giving fuels the souls, and so why, when I know this so well, do I struggle with “charity” in my life? Curious, I turned to Webster’s online to shed some light.

char-i-ty

Etymology: Middle English charite, from Old French charité, from Late Latin caritat-, caritas Christian love, from Latin, dearness, from carus dear; akin to Old Irish carae friend, Sanskrit kama love 1 : benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity 2 a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also : aid given to those in need b : an institution engaged in relief of the poor c : public provision for the relief of the needy 3 a : a gift for public benevolent purposes b : an institution (as a hospital) founded by such a gift 4 : lenient judgment of others.

I was surprised to learn that the word itself is derived from the Latin and Sanskrit words for love. It was also interesting to see the breadth of the first and fourth definitions, encompassing goodwill, love of humanity and lenient judgment. I am heartened, for I strongly feel and express goodwill and am non-judgmental of others. Perhaps, I can extend some charity to myself for falling short and focus on doing better in the future.

The second definition-“generosity and helpfulness towards the needy”-seems like a natural extension of the first. And yet, for me, it is clear that showing kindness to my neighbor in daily life is easier than charitable giving. Therefore, it must become a conscious choice. Though it is easy to see the value and importance of such works, like most other things in life, inaction, no matter how well-intentioned, doesn’t have much meaning for those in need of relief.

And so, dear reader, my commitment to you (and me) is to scour this Beauty News issue for the causes that resonate for me and then mindfully offer both my time and money. It will be good for both the recipient and the giver. For those of you that also struggle, I hope you will make a similar choice. A small contribution has great value, so don’t lose sight of this. Additionally, taking action, and the positive feelings that result, creates momentum for us to continue.

And for those of you that give of yourselves, frequently, freely and easily, you have my utmost respect, admiration and gratitude.

Originally published August 2005
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