“Are You a Giver or a Taker?”

Coming from a musical background I was fully exposed to the “take first mentality” it it’s fullest sense. When is the last time you heard a song about making it rain on a charity; or a rapper talk about how much he or she was about to donate to a food bank. Probably sometime close to a quarter past never? Instead they probably spoke on their next purchase from Gucci.

But our art is only a reflection of the culture we live in, and we just so happens to live in a culture of takers.

The Takers:

When I say that we have created a culture of taker’s, I am not referring to Liam Neeson on a cellphone speaking to the next unsuspecting victim of his karate moves, no. What I am alluding to is the fact that we are often brought up to think of what we get long before we think of what we are actually giving .

Now this one will ruffle many feather’s, since nobody, and I repeat nobody want’s to see themselves as being a taker. Even a person who goes into a situation thinking about what they could get out of it, will still somehow convince themselves that they are giving value to the other person by simply gracing the other party with their presence.

When you think of a taker, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind would be some material possession that one may cling onto for deal life, such as money.

Money however is but a minuscule example of the thing’s we can refuse to be gracious with. I don’t know if anybody out there remembers the hashtag #WasteTheirTime2016. Though it was created and used out of humor, when you view it from a realistic context you will see that it was centered in selfishness.

To waste a person’s time is to take something from them that they cannot get back, and to do so with that intention in mind is a malicious act rooted in selfishness.

Intimate relationships are one of the most common grounds of this mentality. We usually get into relationships to see what the other person can give us. Seldom do we think of what we can do for the ones we are “in love with”; it is often what we can gain from the others presences that we primarily focus on.

Or in rarer cases such as interning for a company, we often look for opportunities before we look to be of service. We go in with a “what can you do for me” mindset, instead of a “what can I offer you”.

This ideology even stems into daily conversation as we look to be understood far more often than  actually going into an interacting to understand the other. We will hear somebody as they speak without looking to truly listen; but instead sit there as we wait our turn to say something, and expect the other person to take the energy to actually listen to us.

All of the former examples are based in a takers mentality.

When it comes to giving in it’s physical sense, we often give to charity when it is not only most convenient to us, but also when other’s can see us doing so. For example, when giving money to a homeless member of our society, we might pass by all of the larger dollar bills to get to the least of them, and do so when there are other people around to witness our saintlyhood.

Though we might have given something, it still does not mean we did it with a fully open and gracious heart; and this only leaves us with an empty feeling, as do all things that come with a takers mindset.

I’m not here to convict anybody, or make you feel bad about this since I am just as guilty of it as any. I am only a messenger who has seen the faults of his own ways, who now wants to give you insight on how we have been trained. If we cannot clearly see the roadblocks in our hearts and mind, then it will become almost impossible to do anything about them.

Open Heart Giver:

I remember seeing my own father give this young homeless guy a 20 dollar bill, and as the young man received the money he did not flinch a muscle. He never thanked my dad once, let alone acknowledge him for what he had done. I was pissed off, and called the man out with a slick remark quickly turning into a bodyguard for pops, but my dad told me not to worry about it and to let it go.

Here I was getting upset over something that somebody else had given. In hind sight I realized that the money my dad gave was with an open heart, and had no conditions connected to it, where as many times over I had given with an expectation.

When I think of this story the first thing that comes to mind is a story that my oldest friends ex-girlfriend told me.

My best friend and his ex girlfriend where driving along an expressway on a storm-filled afternoon.

My friend noticed an elderly woman walking along the road. Somehow through the midst of the rainfall he recognized the fact the old woman did not have any shoes on. He told his girlfriend to pull over, and in a hurry he took off his own shoes before handing them over to the woman outside of his door.

At first the old woman was afraid, and did not accept the shoes; most likely out of confusion. My friend persisted to give over his shoes, and finally the woman took them. She never thanked him, but instead walked off with the shoes in hand.

My friend did not complain about the old woman’s lack of gratitude, but instead was grateful that he was able to give something that somebody lacked.

This is one of the greatest examples of open heart giving, which comes with no contract, no condition, and no price tag connected to it; just the willingness to help somebody else out with something you yourself have been gifted with.

As Spiderman’s uncle Ben once said, “ with greater power, comes greater responsibility.”

Most of us have been guilty of one time or another blaming the rich for the fact that the poor are where they are, yet we have the same power to go out and change somebody’s life. We ask why certain people don’t give more, yet we ourselves cannot even take a small percentage of what we earn/have to give. Instead we will say that we are “too broke” or will give once we “have it”. Yet if somebody were to offer us something, we would more than likely than not, take it without question.

Even if we were at out last dime, if we truly practiced giving as a way of life we would find something that we could give to add value to another’s life.

Some may say the reason I’m writing this is to make money or garner attention, but the fact of the matter is that this is my truest version of giving value; this is my time, my energy, and resources geared towards possibility increasing the quality of somebody’s life even in the slightest and yet its still the least I could do.

Thus, to give does not only have to be in the form of a green faced peace of paper and plastic, though it is nice to give a few of those.

We have all been gifted in some unique way with something that can add to somebody else’s existence. Whitney Houston was given a voice of an angel so she could touch souls with her music, Louis CK was given the ability to make people laugh to relieve the pain of those hurting. Oprah was given the ability to sympathize with the struggles of millions of people. Ironically enough they are then gifted back with monetary surplus, that they eventually give back to charity causes, simply because they give their all.

No gift is greater than another when it is given with an open heart. Never look at your own gift as menial or insignificant, unless it comes with conditions, which in that case it is no longer a gift.

Giving is Receiving:

I know, I’m literally filled with cliché, but all of the greatest truth’s come from these overly stated yet seldom understood statements. One of these being that “giving is better than receiving”; we’ve all heard it, and maybe even a few of us have experienced it.

Well I’m going to turn it on it’s head right now, and say that giving is receiving. Sorry for the lack of a disclaimer before that, I will pay for all mind explosions that may have just occurred.

Now you may be asking yourself, how can giving be receiving? Is giving not giving, and receiving now?

Hear me out. When you take the time to go down to that busy outlet mall to find that pair of shoes your little brother’s wanted for the last year, it may not be the most glamorous experience. You go from store to store looking for these things, and they seem to show up nowhere.

Finally you decided to order them online where they are marked up by $200, but for some reason you love your little brother so you order them anyway.

A week later you walk into the living room and see your brother happier than he’s ever been in his entire 16 years of existence. He runs up to you and squeezes the life out of you. You realize that he opened the package, and saw what you did.

He cannot stop ranting about how you cannot find them anywhere, and how they are literally sold out everywhere. He appreciates the trouble you went through to get the gift as much as the gift itself. And what are you left with, $200 less dollars?

No, you are left with the feeling that you filled a need. You are left with the abundant love from somebody close to you, and appreciation at it’s deepest level (from a 16 year olds perspective).

Every time your brother walks by you he has a huge grin on his face. He goes to school and tell’s all of his friends how he has the greatest older sibling in the world. You not only get compliments from those in your own household, but by those outside of your own space.

See on one side one person received a gift with one utility, to wear on their feet. But you were given many intangible gifts, for instance the lifting of your own spirits, the feeling of self-worth, graciousness, admiration, and every other feeling that spawns out of the experience.

Sure it may have cost you a few hundred dollars and a couple of hours out of your life, but remember that there are people out there who spend millions of dollars and an entire lifetime in hopes of feeling half of those emotions.

We buy things to get a feeling, and sensation, when you buy a dress you are buying the emotion that goes along with wearing it; or when you get that car, it is to make you feel a certain way whether it be security or popularity.

This is the same emotional effect that comes to the giver of a gift. We give people complements, time, and resources because we want to not only impact them, but also have a positive emotional experience through their reaction; or lack there of.

 

We are social creatures, and connection is a key part of our experience; giving value to another is the epitome of connection, because somebody can leave you in better spirits than they came and have something they did not have before.

If you can have anything to feel confident about it should be in your ability to selflessly give, and only expect back a feeling. Just like forgiveness is more for you than the other person, so is giving. It is the one thing that can cost you nothing, but can give you everything.

And last but not least remember to give to yourself. Give yourself personal time to simply relax and reflect. Give yourself nutrients through healthy food, and an overall healthy lifestyle. And lastly give yourself credit for the good thing’s that you have done for those around you. Instead of focusing on the things that went wrong, try and remember all of the small good deeds you have done to better others today, and what we will do in the near future.

If you can go away with anything from this entire blog site leave with this.

“To give is the greatest remedy for a feeling of lack.”

-Tinashe Hwande

What will you give today?

 

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