Giving Just a Little More

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I walk the beach most days and am amazed at how many people I see picking up trash that other people have left behind.  I so appreciate these people who take the time in their day to make a difference in the world.

I often come across this couple, Ed and Linda Johnson, whom you will find walking the beach in Corona del Mar picking up trash on a Sunday morning. I stopped one day to talk to them to learn what their motivation was.

First of all, Ed and Linda have been picking up trash on the beach since 2001. That is a lot of trash! They had an amazing attitude about what they do as they talked about how they not only get exercise, but also acquire new friends as they meet new people and their dogs because of what they do. Linda shared they even got given some free passes to the aquarium by some people who were grateful for what they do.

I often think of what this world would be like if we all gave just a little more to others.  Yes it is the idealist in me. Sometimes it is just about being more friendly to others by stopping and saying hello or smiling. The small things can truly make a large difference.  We all possess traits that are our natural strengths. They might not mean much to us, but to others, could make all the difference.

Just think in your own life when someone did something that seemed small to them, but how it made such a difference to you. One of the easiest ways and can mean a lot to people is just sending a text letting someone know they are being thought of. We all like to know we are cared about.

Every morning as I walk the beach, I take a different photo of birds, sunrises (yes I am up early), palm trees, and text it to my daughter saying “good morning.” I know that puts a smile on her face.

Another easy way to give back is by donating blood (and you get a yummy treat afterwards) while you are saving lives. Not a difficult thing to do. One hour every eight weeks or so is all that is required. Imagine if you needed blood how much that would mean to you.

What about visiting a person in a nursing home who does not get visitors. It is interesting that in giving we often receive more back. It also gives us perspective of our own lives.  Sometimes it takes consciously asking yourself each day, “what can I do to make a difference in someone’s life?” Maybe it is just a phone call to someone who is struggling in their life right now. We can get so caught up with our day-to-day business it is easy to forget to ask yourself how do we make a difference.

Einstein believed that giving back is the answer to life: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Pretty strong statement.

Erich Fromm, a renowned psychologist says it so poetically: “Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.”

So after taking all this in, what are you going to do today to make someone else’s life just a little easier?

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or (949) 752-7955

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