“Pay your daily alms in smiles, good deeds, laughter, positivity and happiness. They will resonate in those around you.”
Alms or “almsgiving” is a religious rite of several major worldly religions including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaisim.
The rite of almsgiving pertains to acts of selflessness and charity, such as giving money to the poor or donating of material goods to a religious institution to benefit underprivileged and disadvantaged members of the local community.
In Buddhism, almsgiving or “Dāna” is a cornerstone for laypeople to begin pursuing the path of enlightenment. For Christians, giving of alms or “offertory” is ceremoniously carried out as parishioners donate small sums of money during Mass to the Church for the purpose of helping the impoverished. Almsgiving or “Zakat” is also one of the five Pillars of Islam, which obliges Muslims to designate portions of income and business profits to the poor.
11 Unconventional Ways to Pay Daily Alms
Donating small sums of money can really add up and make a significant difference in the lives of others. In fact, recent studies show that low-wage earners are the biggest givers of donations per capita — and the target recipients of these donations are often completely secular causes. Even still, what are some unconventional ways to pay alms to others during a severe recession, when families are scraping and pinching coins just to pay their bills? Thankfully, there are many ways that we can each “pay daily alms” to others, whether in among our families and friends or on the street and in our local communities.
1.) Smile Often
Smiling is one of the simplest forms of giving daily alms. Smiles are contagious; when someone smiles at you the chances are great that you will be compelled to smile back. Even if you’re not beaming with happiness, try your hardest to smile in the presence of others — even forcing a smile can influence your brain to feel happier!
2.) Do Someone A Favor (Ask for Nothing in Return)
William Somerset Maugham once said, “The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned.” Somewhere along the line, we pick up this idea that doing a favor without getting anything in return is a great injustice; that it opens us up to being taken advantage of and makes us look weak. To the contrary, doing a favor for a friend, loved one, or coworker is to embody love and live up to the ideal that our good deeds can be manifested in other ways, outside of receiving something as a reward.
3.) Perform a Random Acts of Kindness (to a Stranger)
Have you ever been wonderfully surprised by a random act of kindness carried out by a stranger? Perhaps it was something simple like someone holding the door open for you, or offering a hand picking up the supermarket display you accidentally bumped over. Pay it forward. Take a few seconds and a bit of energy to do something special, even on a whim, for a stranger whose path you may never cross again.
4.) Laugh (and Make Others Laugh)
Laughter is contagious, so never hesitate to laugh when given the opportunity. Laughing can brighten anyone’s day, even when they are enduring difficult times and great suffering. Make someone laugh.
5.) Don’t Take it Personally! (Driving, Commuting, Etc.)
How easy is it to take someone’s poor driving or rudeness during your morning commute personally? Instead of taking it personally and reacting as if someone has literally spit into your face, brush off others’ discourtesy and poor manners. Better yet, laugh it off, or be even more intent on performing an act of kindness to a stranger to break the cycle of negativity.
6.) Emit Positivity (Offer Encouragement, Optimism)
Give off good vibes. Offer friends, family and others encouragement and optimism during the day-to-day. The smallest efforts to help others focus upon the positive aspects of life and living situations can help our loved ones subtly refocus on their priorities, uphold an optimistic outlook and ultimately reap a good or beneficial outcome.
7.) Apologize (Even If You Feel Justified)
The ego within us refuses to apologize during conflicts or disputes — instead, it compels us to want to hold a grudge, to become entrenched in our staunch refusal to concede any ground. Go ahead and give alms to others by offering an apology, even if you believe your actions or behaviors were justified. The worst outcome is that you have combated the strength of your ego and humbled yourself — both from your own perspective and in the eyes of others.
8.) Give Forgiveness
It’s one thing to apologize; it’s another to forgive. It’s certainly difficult to forgive those who have wronged us. It’s another thing entirely to completely forget. If someone offers you a sincere apology, there are few reasons to not offer forgiveness. Oftentimes, we act as if resisting forgiveness is a last remaining bullet in our gun’s chamber; that if we refuse to forgive someone who has hurt us, we will forever protect ourselves from them and, in doing so, threaten their ability to ever move on from what wrong they have done. However, when that shot is fired and forgiveness is given, we realize the past that has haunted us becomes dead — that, while we still remember lessons learned, now we may begin to let go of the past and on to a better tomorrow.
9.) Reach Out (Simply Offer to Help)
There are people in your life who are enduring difficult times. You might be surprised how much it can mean to those men and women to simply reach out to them and offer to help in any way that you might be able to. There is no shortage of methods of modern communication — from phone calls to texts, E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and countless others. Simply reach out to someone whom you think is in need of help. That gesture alone can mean a world of difference.
10.) Give Advice (From Personal Experience)
The life you have lived is a completely unique experience; along the way, you have certainly learned an abundance of important lessons and a wealth of unique knowledge. Never sell those lessons short. If you can, and the other party is willing, offer to give advice from your personal experience for the sake of helping someone who may value your knowledge.
11.) Offer to Listen (Some People Just Need Your Ears)
Similar to reaching out to someone in need, offering to just listen to someone’s issues, problems or difficulties can really mean the world. A lot of times, talking about our issues or problems relieves the feeling of isolation and feelings of “Why Me?” and instead creates a bond, a bridge of understanding that we are not alone in life. Reach out and offer to simply listen; sometimes, people just need your ears.