Posts tagged ‘relationships’

August 1, 2012

ABC’s of Life… Give Freely

Give freely – what exactly does that mean? I have spent maybe far too much time contemplating this life lesson. Initially, I thought it had to do with us donating and giving to those who have less than we do. By definition, giving does encompass material goods, but that’s a tangible interpretation. The more I thought about it, I realized that even giving something, a gift for example, is not the only thing we have to give; it’s only a piece of it. In reality, when we are giving, even if it is something material, it’s giving a piece of ourselves. That’s the important piece.

It’s easy in our society to get wrapped up in the material giving, but I am beginning to believe the only real thing in this world we have to give isn’t something we can hold in our hands or put in our wallets. It’s ourselves.  Over the past year, I have been observing friends and family, trying to determine what makes for a lasting relationship, because I found myself incredibly curious about how people build meaningful ones. The answer I have come to is we build long lasting and meaningful relationships by opening up our hearts, sharing ourselves, lending a shoulder to a friend, giving our time and energy to a friend in need or even just to have fun. By doing these things it makes it easier for others to open up to us in return, of course only if and when they are ready.

But then what does it mean by giving freely? Sometimes, there’s the expectation of getting something in return when we give and sometimes there isn’t. In order to give freely, then we must not have an expectation to receive anything back. This sets people up to be let down or disappointed, which can make for an unhealthy relationship. If we open our hearts to give ourselves to someone else, the person on the receiving end should only have to accept it graciously and thankfully without having to give back in return. Otherwise, it is only giving something with strings attached and the expectations we have to get something back may never be met or even be met to the standards that were desired. This only adds conflict and sometimes drama to our relationship. One word of caution, we do give to those who are worthy. There are those who might take advantage and all I say to this is be aware of those people and maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how meaningful those relationships might be. Luckily, I have rarely ever come across such a soul, but I do know they exist.

One thing I did decide recently is that I want to give back to society and I decided I want to volunteer. This is something I have talked about doing off and on over the last couple years, but I have already put an application in for a reading program to help children learn how to read. I think it’s time to give to my community, because after all when we are willing to have open hearts and give it freely, our community becomes a better, stronger place just the same way that our relationships do.