About generosity

About generosity

I write this while looking out over the Mediterranean sea. I’m not sitting in a restaurant or another public place. I sit at the dinner table in our rented house in Spain. Living in a house with this amazing and inspiring view would not have been possible without the help of our friends who live here. Not only did they help us find this incredible place to rent for half a year, they also opened their home and their lives to us. They invited us to meet their friends and pretty soon we were absorbed in this lovely bubble of fun and interesting people whom we now meet on a regular basis. This makes me think about generosity, receiving and giving.

Honestly, it’s hard for me to receive so much from other people. I notice how quickly I feel that I’m not giving nearly enough back and how uncomfortable that makes me feel. For each thing I give, I feel that I get five things back. My friends however never give me the feeling that they want anything back from me and in that lies something interesting.

To me it seems there are different ways of giving, let’s call them Way A and Way B. If you give something in Way A then energywise, your intention is that you somehow want something back. Either immediately or somewhere longer down the road. I think giving in Way A can be about getting something back from the person you are giving to and/or feeling that you gain something inside yourself: a sense of being appreciated, needed, included or loved perhaps?

So how about Way B? When you give in Way B, you give something without the need for return of anything. Not now, not ever. The only intention you have is to give something truly from your heart. It also seems that giving in Way A can take quite some energy while giving in Way B somehow seems to come naturally.

To me the interesting thing is that words aren’t even needed here. If I’m truly aware, I feel in which way I give to someone else, but also in which way something is given to me by another person. Do you recognize that? Even though it sounds genuine I sometimes still get the feeling that something is not given to me unconditionally even though there is no real proof for it. For example a workplace can be a typical place where things are given with invisible strings attached. As the saying goes: you scratch my back, I scratch yours.

So in what way do I give to other people? Before in life I can see myself having given (for example my time or my money) because I felt a sense of obligation to please other people. Or to get a promotion. Or to feel that I belong. I noticed how this way of giving took quite some energy and often made me focused outwards instead of inside myself.

They say on airplanes:

In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others.

I think this is a wise statement that can also be applied to other, non-airplane-related, things. To give to someone else, you first have to give to yourself. Because in the long run, it simply doesn’t seem to work otherwise. Not in saving someone in an airplane emergency and not in life. So nowadays I am more conscious about why I give and take responsibility for my own energy. Awareness about why I give and in what way really has made a huge difference in my life!

Receiving so much from our friends here in Spain still poses a bit of a challenge though. In the end, all I can come up with is to continue to say a heartfelt: Thank You So Much! I am truly grateful for everything you give to me and my family. (you know who you are )  

Photo: Chungkuk Bae – unsplash.com


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