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This is a topic that has occupied my mind for the last few days. I had a colleague ask me about motivations for giving.  It seems clear that people are different in the degree that they give, who they give to, and the things they give. The reasons they give are different for every one.

The dictionary defines giving as: to present voluntarily and without expectation, or compensation in return; to hand to someone or to place in someone’s care; and to present or deliver voluntarily to the permanent possession of another or others. Oscar Wilde once wrote: ” To give and not expect return is what lies at the heart of love.” Another way to phrase it would be: Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving any thing in return. Some people believe you cannot love someone without giving. I will try and use myself as an example in this discussion.

I have American Indian ancestors. They were a giving people and it is a part of my heritage. Who ever is in need is to be given to. I grew up in a family where there was neglect and abuse, I saw very little giving in my developmental years. It was not modeled for me to be caring nor giving. Strangely enough, because of my close ties to nature and God. I was a very sensitive and empathic child. How that happened, is a miracle in itself. All through my life, I have given a lot. Never because I had to. I gave because I knew what it was like to have little food, money, and to never get positive time from others. I think that fed into me being empathic, but my siblings are not that way. I give because I genuinely care about people and their welfare. I never want others to know hunger, have no access to resources, and live their lives without any one caring. I have never done so because I felt I had to. I wanted to give. I did not give so that others would give to me. I didn’t expect gifts. If I received something, I was always grateful and humbled by it.

I have given of my resources when I had it to give. I  have helped a family member out a lot, not out of obligation, or because I have to, but because I care for someone else’s welfare. Over the years, I have given to strangers, to my enemies, those in need, and my community and society . I validate and compliment others a lot. I share information for any one who wants it. It is in me to care. It is in me to give unconditionally. I feel more whole when I do, more a part of God, the universe, and a part of humanity. When I love, I give, but I also give to my enemies. I feel gratitude when I give and overwhelming joy. I get pleasure in giving, and I feel it is a vital part of who I am. I’ve never given to get someone to like me, or to manipulate any one, or to control people. I give because I want to.

What about you? When do you give, to whom do you give, what kinds of things do you give, and why do you do it? It can really  give you a lot of insight into your own self to answer these questions