When we wish to give somebody something to make them happy, it is a fantastic state of life to be in. Giving can be done in many forms. It could be spending time encouraging someone, giving a material present, physically helping, donating money, writing a beautiful letter… It doesn't matter what it is, or how much. The point is do we feel liberated when we do it? The ideal to work towards is giving with a desire to make someone happy, to enrich their lives. That is liberating and can be learned. This is the type of giving that comes spontaneously out of our inner-selves. Unfortunately this is not the most frequent sensation associated with giving. In practice, because our ego constantly tries to communicate to us what we have to lose by giving, and because our materialistic culture is so much more about taking than giving, we may often find that giving is done begrudgingly, with guilt, or at best with an expectation of getting something in return. It's a natural human tendency to be fearful of self-sacrifice but in the cultural backdrop of imbalance and dominance of the ego, we are deluding ourselves to a great degree, building a fortress of needless defence. We are free to learn to give freely! The bonus is that we reap great rewards automatically as a result! By gathering experience of conscious giving, this can be understood deeply, so that our trust in life is strengthened, generally.
I don't wish this scenario to be confused with the event of real self-sacrifice where people give too much because they crave love from others. This can cause huge financial problems, exhaustion etc. and extreme negativity if it is not recognised. That is NOT what we are aiming for here! The attitude behind giving is what determines whether real value is created in the long-run. If giving freely and working towards that ideal makes you feel good, then you must be on the right track.
giving more. You may even have to learn to accept gifts, in whatever form. That might be money, time, help, things…..It could be that you are obsessed with maintaining your independence, for example.
In any case – if it were possible to feel the freedom and pleasure of giving more unconditionally, more often, that would surely be a more fulfilling, enjoyable experience. But how can we be sure such efforts don't actually lead to sacrificing yourself? The answer is simple: experiment wisely! I wouldn't want people to suddenly give away all their material possessions, money or available free time on an experimental hunch without thinking it through. However, I do believe it is important, as always, to get outside of the comfort zone. The zone of habit. Experiment with small risks and see what the results are. Discover how it makes you feel and try to sense the appreciation felt by the recipient. If you give kindness to someone, it doesn't even matter if they don't reciprocate, because you are free to create value, regardless. If that doesn't persuade you that such giving is worthwhile then consider that all kindness is received but the effects may not be visible for some time. Many individuals are unconscious still and wrapped up in their egos of fear. They need time to respond to the sigals that enter their subconscious, we need patience here.
The theory is also that if you consciously develop your art of giving value to others, you will receive benefits in many ways, not just happiness in yourself. It will also be in the form of material benefits that you may really need at one particular time, to help you with your further personal growth and empowerment. You can only judge whether that is true in your own experience with a mixture of the best objectivity possible: that means with your wisdom. Your inner sense. Your intuition.
Some benefits may not accrue until much later, but you can see with time where your life is heading. That's the beautiful thing. You don't need to analyse every single detail of new methods that you apply, instead, use your intuition which can better interpret the intricacies and interactions of cause and effect in your life.
But even in itself, feeling that sense of joy, being a share happiness with another person to whom you have given, opens up new doors in life because it makes you free.
You can try the following method in the order stated if that seems best, or throw yourself in the deep end and try the "hard" option.