“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
I find joy in giving: friendship, support, love, kindness. It makes me happy to make others happy- it’s quite simple. I find that my life’s mission is to try help people see that kindness is a very straightforward and effective path towards both personal and collective well-being. But I have also noticed that we’re prone to put a price on the things we do for others: if nothing else, we EXPECT a “thank you” in retribution for our commendable actions. We send something out into the world and then expect things in return for them. We give only to receive: our wonderful acts of kindness are full of sentences that end with three dots instead of full stops.
Sure, if nothing else, it’s culturally appropriate to say “thank you” for the things or actions we get from others- this is the responsibility of the receiver.
What is the responsibility of the giver?
I’m no different and am guilty of wanting people to give something in return for whatever I’ve done for them. I only figured this out after being sad, irritated or even angry because the receivers in my life “failed” to produce the response I deemed appropriate. In the end, it all boils down to a very simple fact: I know that I can only control myself. There is no way I’ll be able to make someone be the person with the responses I’d like to see. So why even try in the first place? Why try to calibrate potentials of others when I can’t seem to calibrate my own?
Now I strive to send things away from myself and expect nothing. I do things for others and put full stops on the sentences of kindness I write for the ones around me. I know what I give, but the receivers are the only ones who really know what they got.
And I also know what it is I receive for what I’ve done: my own and personal inner peace and happiness. I receive that from myself. A positive response from the other party is just an upgrade of it all.
Seeing things this way takes away the pressure of always expecting something. Living this way gives opportunity for others to be who they really are around us. People usually give more if they feel free, safe and unburdened. People who feel free, safe and unburdened around us also feel free to shine, because there’s nothing to loose and a lot to gain. They know we won’t judge and they relax, because there’s this one person who lets them be who they are. They become the best possible versions of themselves. This in turn helps them pay it forward.
Open-ended sentences have a place and point in our lives. They belong to us, not the things we bestow upon others. They give us potential to wiggle around and grow. People we like, love and cherish, on the other hand, should only receive complete and well-rounded sentences from us. They’ll give them the assured freedom they need to wiggle and grow.
“The most truly generous persons are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward.”
(Carol Ryrie Brink)