You Can Only Give Away What You Possess
If it’s not something you have, it’s not something you can give.
I love giveaways. Giveaways are fun, because who wouldn’t want to win something that is entirely free, with no strings attached? Yet, in order for someone to give something away, they first have to be in possession of it.
I’d love to give away a brand new car, or a trip to Italy, or $100,000 in cash (all tax-free, of course). But no matter how much I might want to give those things away, I can’t give away that which I do not possess. Neither can you.
Since we can’t give someone the shirt off our back if we are shirtless, we might want to make sure we properly dress ourselves before leaving the house. That way, we’ll be in the position to help the next shirtless somebody who crosses our path. And by dressing in layers, we can give them one of our shirts without ending up shirtless ourselves.
To be clear, this isn’t about how many tops you wear. It is, however, about clothing ourselves with a generous and ever-ready spirit. If you’ll be so kind as to keep your shirt on, I’ll explain.
What it Takes to Be a Giver
Since you can only give away that which you possess, you first have to be in ownership of whatever it is you want to give. As an example, the only way to encourage others is to be in possession of courage. Similarly, if you want to offer someone hope, you must be full of hope yourself. And if you seek to comfort others, it can only come from having a source of comfort at your disposal.
It is so easy to forget this. Equally easy is expecting other people to give us what we long for — whether it’s validation, affirmation, or affection — when that’s not something they possess. We often know deep down it’s an unrealistic desire, but we desire it nonetheless.
Learning to let go of expectations helps. What I’ve also found helpful is seeking to be a blessing more than I seek to be blessed. When that is my focus, it puts me in the mindset of wanting to acquire things not just for myself, but so I can give them away to others.
In a way, that’s really what my writing is all about. It’s about attempting to make sense of something in my own life, and after wrestling to find what I need to keep going, I offer it as a gift on the chance it might encourage someone else.
How to Be a Giver Without Giving Up
If I was trying to give away things in order to get something in return, such as more followers on Medium, or more website traffic, or more acclaim as a writer, I would have given up a long time ago. Burnout happens when we give away more than we get in return.
But if we aren’t expecting anything in return, and we give out of our abundance, we can give freely and joyfully and continually. And when we do, we will experience for ourselves it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Whatever we possess is ours to give away. It could be our love, our time, or our talents. It could be compassion, patience, or understanding. And yes, it could even be the shirt off our back.
We were created to be givers. So don’t give up, my friend. Just keep giving!
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill
Find me at SalinaChristaria.com