There are times when we wonder what is the meaning of our life? Where is it going? How is it shaping up? Everyone needs a reason to live. It is the chosen reason to live which makes us enthusiastically wake up every morning and look forward for new opportunity and challenges. The REASON to live is as important as the life itself.
Think of a small pond filled with fishes. When it rains the fresh water comes in and the excess water is discharged downstream. Now what would happen if the upstream supply of water to this pond is cut-off? No fresh water will come in and downstream flow will stop. The pond soon will have stagnated water, which will begin to dry and suffocate the life within the pond. Characteristically, our life also behaves like the pond if we stop giving and receiving. The ability to receive and give out is what defines our life. It makes us bubble with joy and happiness. We subconsciously always try to maintain the flow of our life. The moment our life gets stagnated, we begin to suffocate.
How to Give-
It is easy to give. Everyone gives, in the form of advice, gifts, charity or shit. But, that is not true giving. Give for the sake of giving without expecting anything in return. We are nice to our friends so they will continue to hang out with us, we work hard for our boss so we can get a paycheck, we dress up and accessorize so our spouse will like us. We can hamster ourself that we give genuinely but the fact is we do always have selfish reasons to give. Remember what Joey said- Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
And it’s Okay. It is nonetheless important to understand that when we give with expectation to receive something, we do it from a position of weakness and neediness. When we expect nothing in return we give from a position of strength. Giving from position of strength makes us feel more content and confident. It also helps us discern the people who deserve our giving the most.
Think of a co-worker, who is inviting the boss and his wife for a fancy dinner so the boss will “like” him and give him the promotion. That co-worker of yours is not giving from a position of strength. He is giving from a needy position and for selfish desires. And he is not giving to somebody who deserves it. He wants something in return from the boss. It shows that he has nothing better to offer. He cannot give the company his hardwork, dedication, leadership or any other skills. He throws the boss $200 of food he doesn’t need or even really appreciates, hoping he will reciprocate with a promotion. The boss might happily take the food, but he will not give him the promotion if he is not right for the job and lacks valuable skill set for the job role. A promotion offered in exchange of $200 food is bound to be disastrous. Giving from the position of neediness and weakness always fails.
When we give from the position of strength our thoughts are clear, nobody can take advantage of us, and we give the right thing to the right people.
Our loved ones. Our family and friends don’t need $200 food to like us. They like us for our ability to bring a smile on their face, for being emotional rock, for being a loving partner, for our well meaning advice, for being a strong leader and for bringing joy and happiness in their life.
How do we know if we are giving the right way?
The answer is simple. When giving doesn’t feel like a burden, you know you are doing it right.
Once there was a shepherd. A baby sheep was his favorite. He used to carry the baby sheep on his shoulders every morning for grazing the green grass at the top of the hill. As the time passed, the baby sheep turned into a full grown 110 lbs sheep. He still carried the sheep on his shoulders to the top of hill. A curious villager asked him- Don’t you get tired of carrying the heavy sheep on your shoulders? The shepherd replied- No. Something that you love, never feels like burden.
How to Receive-
Receiving is far more complicated than giving. Receiving is also the first precondition of giving. To give, one must first “receive”. If you receive nothing, you cannot give anything. To be able to truly give, it is essential the giver must build a worthy life first. An advice given on self control from a drug addict means nothing. A promise of $100 given by a homeless man means nothing. A threat of hand duel from a skinny man to a 300lbs wrestler means nothing. For giving genuinely and truly you should first have what you seek to give.
When we are focused on building our life and pursuing our mission, we receive valuable life experiences, financial rewards and emotional support from well wishers. During the course of our journey we also learn to be selfish and avoid the leeches and vampires that seek to drain our resources and are unworthy. We learn the hardest part of giving- Knowing what to give and who to give.
The Psychologists have discovered that the natural tendency of humans is to want to feel like the world is fair. When we do something good for others, we expect that the universe will return our good deed to us in one form or other. It is the core reason why the giving feels so good. The more we give, the more we feel like we can expect in return.
Conversely, when we lie, steal or act on our selfish motive, we get the hunch that if the world is fair than the same thing will happen to us, someone someday will act in the same selfish manner towards us or lie and steal from us. This is also one of the reason people feel bad while receiving. They feel since they are receiving, though in a fair way, they might have to give it back or feel indebted.
When someone complements us or when we receive a gift we may feel awkward on some level and think that we are selfish or undeserving. Your colleague compliments on your dress- Accept the complement with a thank you. Your boss praise you for good work- Thank your boss and promise to keep the good work going. Your friend takes you out on dinner- Thank your friend and express the gratitude. Your sibling gives you a gift- Accept the gift and cherish the bond. The complements you receive, the promotions you get, the emotional support you get, you deserve them all for being the hardworking and wonderful person you are. Don’t dismiss yourself or underestimate yourself. Receiving can feel as good as giving when mixed with sincere gratitude.