Do You Give Freely?
My dad is someone who has given even when he knew it might not turn out so great. When I’ve asked him why, his answer has always been, “How can I not?” When a person asks for your help, you help them.
My uncle recently did the same thing. Someone he hadn’t heard from in years called and asked for help. My uncle said that he felt he needed to do it – despite the fact that he didn’t expect to be re-paid and the high probability that this person would “disappear” once again.
When you consider giving, do you think about the times when that person didn’t pay you back? Do you feel resentment? Do you give again anyway?
We also give what can’t be paid back in the same way you would replace onions, tea and potatoes. We give of our time, for example. What about equality, fairness, feeling important, listening, sharing, intimacy? We give of ourselves in so many emotional ways.
What if the other person doesn’t reciprocate the intangibles?
I think that’s harder than loaning money or your favorite casserole dish and not getting it back. That’s just money, just stuff. But feeling as though you don’t matter to someone who matters to you, that is much harder to bear.
Does it make me a bad person to want repayment? It seems only fair that, if I give you ten dollars, you will repay that loan. It seems only natural that, if I give you my love, my time and my commitment, that I should receive those things back from you. I’ve had people in my life that would not (or could not) “pay me back” emotionally. But I can only give so much without being fulfilled myself, and then I have to let go.
Does that make me a bad person? Or is letting that person go simply an act of self-preservation?
Letting go doesn’t always mean cutting that person completely out of my life. Sometimes I can just step back a bit and re-evaluate my own emotional investment. After all, there are many different levels of friendship and intimacy. But that leads me to another question. Am I only willing to give as much as I get back? And still further, am I giving as much as I think I am? Or is it possible that I am the one who is not giving as much as I receive?
Do we really give people our love, our care and our friendship? Or are we actually just loaning them out? If I love, without receiving love in return, will my love eventually starve into non-existence? Likewise, if I do not nurture the love that is given to me, will I kill it from neglect?
What do we get from giving freely? In the case of my Nannie, she gave without the expectation of repayment. In his turn, Burt gave freely back to her. And that was worth everything.
And are we able to gain payment from the act itself?
If you volunteer, what do you gain from that? Do you get a feeling of accomplishment, of self-worth, of satisfaction that you made a difference? If you care for a child, an elderly person or someone who is ill, do you do it only because you have to? Or is it enough to be needed and to know you’re important – even vital – to another person’ s existence, even if they are not able to tell you or show you. Isn’t that a form of emotional payment? Isn’t that a payment you make to yourself?
Skip on over:
- The Stages of Intimacy (socyberty.com)