Giving is a fundamental part of living a meaningful life and doing God’s work on Earth. Not so deep inside, you know how important it is. But a huge crush of external sources would have you believe that giving is secondary. We’re told that once you get, only then can you give. This message comes from the media. It’s plastered in stores, on street signs, and is even heralded in songs. But this message is entirely backward.
Everyone struggles in life. When you are in the midst of your own personal pain, heartache or challenge, it can feel tough to give of yourself. Let’s face it, you already have so many demands on your time. From work and spouse and children to your community and extended family, it can feel like everyone wants a piece of you. Should you really take an always-giving approach on top of that load?
This get-first mentality is understandable; but again, backward. It’s tempting to chide people who think this way for being selfish, but a personality issue is really not the problem at all. After all, nearly everyone has moments when they think they would prefer to receive than give. That’s because each human being arrives in this world with a sense of self-preservation. It’s “us and ours” first, and we instinctively cling to this basic drive in the midst of challenge.
More importantly, sometimes people simply don’t have enough proof in their lives that the give-before-get mentality works. Maybe you grew up with trauma? Some people are in the grips of an addiction that rewired their brains to take whenever they can. Others are in relationships that seem hopelessly lopsided.
What are you supposed to do in these situations? How is giving possible?
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. Addicts who work with other addicts will tell you that such selflessness is what got them sober for good. Multi-millionaires say it’s not until they started giving away their expertise that they built dedicated followings and powerful businesses. Those in loving relationships freely admit that when they took a “me-first” approach, love suffered. Taking an “others-first” path meant more love and satisfaction for all.
This works on a more personal level as well. For example:
Again, you know these things instinctively. But sometimes instincts take over, hoarding resources and fleeing perceived danger.
The good news? You truly are charitable at heart. You just have to learn to listen to yourself. Natural instincts can change with practice. If you want to grow a giving approach that will improve your own life as well as the world around you, it’s possible. You just need the right community to help you follow through. We at The Journey are here to help, so reach out to us today.