Unselfish giving: be a light to your world

I like to think I’m the giving type, and I want to be transparent about what I do. I try to practice unselfish giving.

Do you realize every human interaction has a component of “what do I get?” and “what do I give?” Even selfless acts involve giving and receiving. Anyone giving love, service, or time, automatically receives something from the giving. Giving is just built that way, even when the motive is pure and unselfish.

Think about it…a mom gives love and care to a newborn, and in return has the joy of watching her little one grow. Someone helps an elderly neighbor, and the one helping out feels a warm glow all day, knowing they made a difference. A teacher tutors a struggling student on their own time and has the satisfaction of watching the child succeed because of their efforts.

Countless volunteer organizations thrive on this principle.

Even in our commercialized and often cynical world, giving is hard-wired in humans. We do it because it feels right. I love to know my reason for doing a good deed is just because…because I can, because I choose to, because it’s the right thing to do.

Everyone understands the clear exchange of time, effort, or things, for money, or an equitable substitute.

But unselfish acts are rewarded in ways we don’t calculate…the warm feeling of knowing you’ve helped someone, the joy of watching joy bubble up in another person, the unexpected, intangible repayment of some sort that’s often the response to unselfish action…all of these are the gifts that come back when we give of ourselves. We can’t quantify these rewards: they are worth more than hard currency.

The work I do, writing and sharing on this site, is like that for me…I’m giving because I want to, because I choose to, because I can. I don’t know who might benefit from the words I write, the stories I share. Perhaps I’ll never know that.

But I do know this: the process of reaching toward others gives back to me. I learn so much as I work in the online world, and I come in contact with fellow writers, seekers, those on similar journeys, as well as those on a very different path. And each encounter gives me something.

So this is my attempt to say thank you, in advance, to anyone reading, to anyone who is moved to think differently or make a new choice for their life, prompted by something I share.

You see, I don’t have to know who you are, or know your story, to know I’ll be impacted too. That’s the way generosity works, and I’ve learned to trust the transactional nature of unselfish giving.

It’s not that what I do is done with repayment in mind…the thing is, the payback will come…I just have to do my part to reach out.

It’s lovely, really, the way it works. And please don’t misunderstand…I’m not encouraging anyone to give in order to get. I think that motive is self-defeating, in every way. I’m just acknowledging that unselfish giving of self will always come back, in some form or other.

Think about it. Have you gone out of your way lately for another person? Helped a stranger out? Volunteered for a charity event? Supported a school fundraiser? Visited a retirement home? Shared a skill or knowledge you have with someone else (for free)? Done something good for your community? Gone the extra mile for a family member or a friend? Surprised a co-worker by helping out with a project?

How do you offer unselfish giving?

This is my encouragement: go out and do good. Be a light. Be the person you want to meet, the generous spirit you need when you’re down. Be intentional about it.

The impulsive generosity of helping someone with a spur-of-the-moment need is great. But it’s also good to plan how you can help. Put some thought into how your skills can make a difference, where your smile and heart can have an impact. Leave a trail of light behind you.

Be who you needed when you were younger. ~ unknown

As surely as you practice this, the good will come back to you, probably in ways you can’t imagine.

This isn’t about money, or becoming wealthy from doing good. It’s about spirit, and attitude, and the intangibles of life. No one can guarantee how good will be repaid. Just trust that it will happen.

Giving just works that way. 🙂

We rise by lifting others. ~ Robert Ingersoll





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