Lessons in Giving Freely and Without Expectation

About 3 minutes to read

We all have a desire for love and acceptance, we want others to like, admire and appreciate us, we want to connect and experience purpose and meaning in our lives.  In order to achieve this we have to show up and step out.  We need to expose and share of ourselves, be vulnerable.

These are the simple economics of life; in order to receive you need to GIVE.

Yes, it is scary, and there are no guarantees how others will respond to the gift of YOU that you are giving.

A personal story about giving freely

I once learned an important lesson about giving without expectation, which I would like to share with you.

A few years ago, my partner’s father gave us an expensive Persian carpet as a gift.  There were immediately two problems with us accepting the gift.  Firstly, we do not have any carpets in our home and are unlikely to start using them and secondly the carpet contained none of the colours that are present in our house.  However, we accepted the gift and promptly packed it away in a remote cupboard; of course, as polite people we would never rudely reject a gift.

Time passed and occasionally he would mention the carpet and we would artfully avoid the topic until the day of the great storm.

Our basement was flooded causing substantial damage and one of the victims of the storm was a lovely rug we used in our bathroom.  Who wants cold feet when they exit the shower, what to do?  Then it occurred to us, Papa’s Carpet!  Eureka we could use the gift, the colours actually work quite well in the bathroom and what a great solution for two small problems.

Until the day, Papa came to visit.  Yes, you can imagine the song and dance about this.  He was NOT impressed!  That we have the audacity to stand with wet feet on an expensive carpet was too much for him.  Had we no sense of appreciation, understanding of value or culture?

This is where I learned two very valuable lessons.  The first, never receive a gift without gratitude and the second, never give a gift with a price tag.

Eventually I had to share the following facts with Papa: he gave us a gift.  It was freely given meaning a transfer of possession and ownership had occurred.  In handing over the gift, he surrendered his right of ownership, stewardship, and responsibility.  As it was a GIFT and there were no conditions attached, and the price tag removed, we were not indebted to him.  It was ours to do with as we chose.

Likewise, I had to admit to him that we did not receive his gift gracefully nor with gratitude.  We were always aware of the proverbial white elephant in the cupboard and it was not until we found a use for the carpet that we could appreciate the gift.

This lesson applies to us stepping out and expressing ourselves authentically in the world.

The Lesson About Giving Freely and Without Expectation

If you share the gift of you, remember it is a gift so give it freely.  In all the ways you give yourself to the world, be it your time, money, love, caring, joys, aches and pains – everything, give it freely.  Remember you are under no obligation to give, if you cannot give with an open and free heart, rather do not give at all.

Remove expectation from the equation, it only creates aggravation and heartache.  Yes, your gift may go unappreciated, people may abuse it, you may get hurt, but none of this is your responsibility.  Once ownership has transferred, you no longer own it.  By choosing to give, you have handed over ownership of a small piece of you to another; they are now accountable and responsible for what they do with it.

The next time you give of yourself to the world be sure of your intention.  Are you giving freely, are you handing over ownership.  If not, do not give.

The choice is yours; remember you are under no obligation.

The article was recently shared on One Wise Life

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