A Spirit of Giving Unites

Week 1, Day 3 – Learning the Basics

Let’s start today by looking back at our Spectrum. Do you find yourself leaning more towards the generous end? This could either be now, or as your goal destination. If so, you are probably a Giver. Most likely you trust others, find ways to give outside of money, are content to live with less and find joy by helping others succeed. Givers can be idealistic in their dreams of what their actions can accomplish, including making the world a better place and the idea their philosophy has the power to change the life of someone for the better.

Take one more look at your spectrum drawing. Just as each of us have drawn a different length for our visual, the law of relativity shows us we will vary as to where we are on the spectrum. And, the meaning of the point we assign ourselves is only relative to the experience and the perspective we gained from our knowledge of life. How much I give is different than how much you give. We can both feel generous in our giving at the same time, even if we think we are at different marks on the spectrum.

Does this mean giving is a personal choice, and a personal quest? If both generosity and our idea of giving is individualized, the way to measure generosity becomes complex. There’s an old blog post of mine that might come in handy for us with this topic. Not only did we explore the definition of generosity, but we were able to label the common ways we measure our acts.

1. How much we give – We measure our giving in dollar amounts (or time spent volunteering). The more we spend, the more generous we feel.
2. How often we give – Price does not matter, it’s how many times we give to others during a certain period.
3. The intention of the give – Giving for a specified event, or need. For example, charity, holidays, and life events.
*4. The ready give – Aspire to be fully ready to give at any time and any price that is within our capabilities. To expand our mind and character to be free from the small parameters we have unfortunately and unmeaningly put around our giving.

*The fourth measurement tool was birthed from the idea that the first three breed an environment of competition. If we can put a number to how often we give, we can feel good about ourselves when we reach that number. Somehow, that doesn’t seem healthy! So, #4 was an original thought meant to inspire us to think beyond the count.

We cannot compare ourselves to one another because we each have our own talents to contribute differently. There are many ways for us to give, and each of our hearts are pulled towards different things. We each have different means, skills, talents and social networks to fulfill the needs of others. The number isn’t what is important – because what really makes the difference in other people’s life is to the ability to connect with them in a way that brings joy to their life at the moment they need it most.

Still with me? We are going to take it a step further today; hopefully you have the extra time to keep reading. I’ll wait while you grab a drink…

Okay, let’s recap really quick so we are all on the same page. First, Givers have a strong sense of self-sacrifice to improve the lives of others. This is usually done through various acts of generosity. Second, measuring generosity in terms of numbers breeds competition between people and is not a healthy tool to use. Rather, preparing the mind and heart to simply be ready to give is a much healthier place to start and measure our willingness to give to others. When we stop feeling ready to give, it’s time to take action for renewal. Third, it’s important for us to remember that giving is an individualized activity and we are all in different places of our Giving Journey. Think of the Spectrum and how variable our decisions are for each act of generosity. Sometimes we may feel more generous and other times we may be more austere. But, overall, we want to stabilize our idea of what true giving means.

Got it? Let’s continue with our fourth and final point for today!

So, we are on this individualized journey that we have determined for ourselves. Givers tend to look around the world and find people that are hurting. Compassion, empathy and other qualities kick-in and start working for them, searching for ways to improve the situation. It’s an automatic response for them. The only deliberation going on in their mind is how they will accomplish the goal.

For others, it is a personal choice, a need may be recognized, but the readiness is not there. Why? Because different things motivate different people. And each situation has it’s own parameters that either connect with potential givers or keep them at bay.

Several different motivators push us to give – religious beliefs, moral obligations, the desire to support a worthy cause, altruism and prestige are the most common. But, more interestingly, our brains are wired to feel pleasure from the act of giving. Re-read that sentence. OUR BRAINS ARE WIRED TO FEEL PLEASURE FROM THE ACT OF GIVING.

We are MADE to give. Mind blown, right?! A recent study using tools like fMRI showed that part of the frontal lobes are active during the act of giving, along with the release of oxytocin, which promotes social bonding. “The finding suggests that altruism and social relationships are intimately connected—in part, it may be our reliance on the benefits of strong interpersonal connections that motivates us to behave unselfishly.” http://www.wsj.com/…/SB100014241278873240093045790412319716…

There you have it, plain and simple. A Spirit of Giving Unites.

*Mindful Moment – Think about that last statement, “A Spirit of Giving Unites.” After today’s reading, and learning that the act of giving helps us form bonds with another, how does this statement direct your perception of Givers? Can you think of a few examples in your own life where this statement rings true?

*Grateful Graces – What are you thankful for today?

More reading on our motivation to give – https://www.learningtogive.org/…/motivations-giving-and-ser…


To be continued…Week 1, Day 4: Are You an Extreme Giver?

Want to start at the beginning? Click here.


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