The Gift of Giving

To give is to choose to be more human. Giving is the very essence of being human because giving is essentially creative. It creates goodwill and social cohesion. It helps peoples’ well-being – both the giver and the receiver.

Giving is living

Reading the quotes on our ‘Quotes about Giving’ page there are some consistent themes:

Giving is better than getting

There’s a significant amount of data that shows that when we give it benefits our own emotional well-being even more than those we are giving to. Of course there are many people who can’t understand this because they are selfish and greedy. The enemy of giving is ego. Indeed, ego is the enemy of many good things.

You don’t give for selfish reasons or for reward, but because giving is a reward in itself.

Giving is about giving your time

You don’t have to be rich to give. Indeed, giving your time is the most precious gift because in any person’s life, time is their most precious commodity. Of course you can give money to charity, for instance, but the best gift is to give of yourself. You open up your soul, and give it out. That is the definition of soul mates, when you give your souls to each other.

The personal touch cannot be underestimated. The best gift my friends can give me is their presence.

Giving is essentially the same as loving

“In the most general way, the active character of love can be described by stating that love is primarily giving, not receiving.” – Erich Fromm

Interestingly Erich Fromm believed you had to love yourself first before you can love anyone else. He didn’t mean loving yourself in a selfish ego way, which is essentially driven by feelings of insecurity. He believed that a grounded individual, secure in themselves, was most able to give of themselves, and this is the foundation of love.

Giving doesn’t need a reason

Giving can provide many benefits for both the giver and the receiver, but that is not why you do it. The benefits are side effects. You give because it is the right thing to do.

Give kindness

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous of spirit. Nearly everyone is kind to their friends and family, but we should be kind to strangers too. Something as simple as a smile and greeting is enough to cheer someone up and add to the pool of goodwill in your community.

I believe the vast majority of people are decent. Yes, we can get wrapped up in our personal psychodramas but underneath all that we all have a common core of humanity. To tap into that common core when dealing with others is the basis of humane relatedness. 

One way to be kind is to simply be tolerant, especially of differences of opinion. There will always be different, even conflicting, points of view.  Sometimes the only thing you can do is agree to disagree and just get on with things. If you get offended by what people say you will always be indignant. However, since the only person you can rightly control is yourself, if you can’t learn to accept differences, you will be much better off to learn to not take offence. Besides, most people don’t wish to offend, and so it’s best to not take it personally.

The gift of giving

You don’t have to be rich to give:

  • Give someone a hand
  • Give good advice
  • Give stuff you don’t need to charity
  • Give people a greeting and/or a smile
  • Give your art or craft works
  • Give a bouquet of flowers from your garden, or gather wild flowers
  • Give some baking or preserves
  • Give a lonely or isolated person some company for an hour or two
  • Walk a disabled person’s dog
  • Volunteer at the local community centre or school

The possibilities are endless.

Humans derive joy from giving and that is the gift of giving.