Week 7 – Giving Without Getting

This week I cleaned out, packed up and shipped my breast pump to a woman I don’t know (friend of an acquantaince),because she needed it.

I didn’t need reasons or excuses, I just did it.

It was fantastic to be able to help someone, and that alone is thanks enough.

“Even with every door you hold open, car you allow to merge, smile you flash, compliment you give, encouragement you offer, you are making a deposit into someone’s life. The best part of this form of giving is your bounty to give is limitless and in the end, the feeling of fulfillment you get makes you the greatest recipient. Test yourself, how many times did you make a positive deposit today?” -from the facebook page of Darren Hardy

I’ve stumbled upon quite a few “giving without getting” type quotes lately, and they have all struck me since I’ve been working on this project.

Even I wrote in one of my posts that being grateful is just as important as being generous. I do believe that it is, but the fact that others are not always overwhelmingly grateful should not stop us from being generous. Some people may not realize that they are being given a gift, some people are just selfish, some people may not have time, some people don’t know how.

NONE OF THAT MATTERS. (Yet, it does – read on!)

I believe that if you give a gift and it makes another person’s life better in any way, shape or form, then that is thanks enough.

“You have not lived a perfect day, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” -Ruth Smeltzer

Of course, the question begs, is there a time when we should stop giving?

The obvious answer and the one I so desperately want to attain is: Never.

Never is what I strive for, but my brain cannot comprehend the act of giving without being acknowledged. That is for completely selfless people, which I am most certainly not.

For example, I am in a situation where someone I know is in deep financial trouble. I thought
I was being kind and generous in helping her, but now realize that not only was I not being
thanked (which I truly didn’t care about), but I was being taken advantage of. Part of me wants to just keep giving, partly because it’s just easier than fighting. The other part of me is ANGRY! I know that the God-like thing to do is to just keep giving, yet I am fighting that
desire because it is affecting my finances, and I hate hate hate making things about money.
I wanted to believe that by my being generous, it would help this person work harder to pay me back.

Surprise: I was wrong! I don’t want to lose my trust in people, but instances like this make it
very difficult for me to give freely. Here is a person who perhaps does not realize the gift she is being given, who is not saying thank you (quite the opposite, actually), who is not using the gift except to keep things exactly as they are, which benefits… only her. I guess that is part of the whole “selfless” thing that I’m not so good at.

I may not need thanks, but I would like to see/hear of the gift being appreciated/used, not just taken for granted. Otherwise, what’s the point?

What is the point of giving gifts if they are not needed/wanted or even worse, neglected?

My goal here is to give meaningful gifts. Who determines if the gift is meaningful? Is it the financially strapped woman who just waits for things to happen instead of taking charge and
changing something, anything in her life? Or is it me, the giver, who is fed up with seeing her gift unused, and who now feels as if she is almost being stolen from? This one is still up for debate – except I’m not being generous anymore because I can’t afford it!

What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it – would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have. —Ralph Marston


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