We all like to be good girls, right?
I've been thinking about charity and giving a lot lately. I think how we think about it has an impact on our lives far greater than most of us would realize. I've come to realize that there is a very fine line between giving and fear. To clarify my own beliefs - I believe that the opposite of Love is not hatred but Fear.
Giving. The word conjures up all sorts of images - charity, money, kindness, poverty, need, desperation, passion. There are so many ways we can give, every single day of our lives. And I know personally that when people have given to me in the past, that it has been timely and got me through some really difficult times.
One time in particular, I was so grateful for the 'angels' in my life that I had little cut-out angels and each time one of these 'angels' touched my life, I would write their name on the angel and a sentence of gratitude for what they had done for me. My box of angels sat in my lounge for many, many years. Maybe I need to start a new one.
We are taught early - especially girls, and especially if you go to Church - that giving is good. That when you give, you are doing good works in the world. Giving is a good thing to do.
And we all like to be good girls, right?
And so when we step out into the world, we look for ways of being kind and being giving. We look for ways to be good.
As girls, we literally had this breathed into us. For those who were raised Christians, it is a requirement.
But how far do we go? I've been particularly curious over the last few years, with the advent of social media as to giving and how it affects women in particular. And, stepping back, it seems to me, that as women we need to be very careful about what we give. Sigh, yes, I'm well aware that this goes against everything that we've ever been taught.
What do you mean not give as much as we can?
Giving makes us good !
Yip, I can hear it now. But maybe, just maybe, we've had the 'giving' drilled into us so much that we have forgotten to protect ourselves. Maybe, just maybe, we've twisted it just a little bit.
Maybe, just maybe we think we are being giving, but deep down in our souls, in places we don't care to visit very often, there are other reasons for our giving. Like popularity. Or Fear.
Let's talk about those charitable souls (and yes, I'm so guilty of this one) who have given so much in their businesses that they forgot to value themselves and what they do ... and so other people followed suit. I have seen one woman after another end up with next to nothing because they have given away so much of their talent...never fully realizing that the value (often the $$$ value) is what makes other people appreciate what you do.
Here is a quote from Paulo Coelho's book, "The Devil and Miss Prym":
"Very clever. Playing the part of a charitable soul was only for those who were afraid of taking a stand in life. It is always far easier to have faith in your own goodness than to confront others and fight for your rights. It is always easier to hear an insult and not retaliate than have the courage to fight back against someone stronger than yourself; we can always say we are not hurt by the stones that others throw at us, and it's only at night - when we're alone and our wife or husband or school friend is asleep - that we can silently grieve over our own cowardice."
Maybe, just maybe, we give too much because we are afraid of asking for what we are really worth. Perhaps at some deep level, we think we need to give away all our work because we think we are not good enough and that if we charged what we were worth, other people might not like us as much. Maybe they'll say, "who does she think she is?"
Maybe those people aren't worthy to be in your life.
Maybe, just maybe, we are giving because we are afraid of standing up and saying, "hey, I'm damn good at what I do and I want to be paid for it."
If you give to be worthy, know this: you are already good enough.
Now, let's look at another sort of giving I've seen run rampant since the advent of social media. Let's call this the "I give to be popular" type.
You know exactly what I'm talking about. They are constantly giving so much that logic begins to fail. But, because it is on social media, everyone knows about it and so this type is constantly being built up by others: "you're so amazing, so giving, so wonderful" And on it goes.
I'm always curious about this, as it's not my style. I'm not sure why but I'm sure it has something to do with my Christian upbringing, where I was taught from Matthew 6:
Giving to the Needy
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
I don't know why that still has an impact on me, because I don't particularly feel that the Heaven and God I knew in my youth would particularly want me now, but I DO know that when I give, and give in secret I love it. It fills me with warmth. Especially when I do something kind for someone who dislikes me and they never know, nor will they ever find out. It makes me smile. You should try it too :)
My latest mantra is to "look for ways to be kind", and I'm finding numerous ways through my days, whether letting someone in front of me in the car, to opening a door, or even just passing on a smile. It's so easy to be kind!
What about you? How much do you give, and how does it make you feel?
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