Saturday, March 31, 2007

On Generosity and Friendship

Every gift, every frienship goes both ways. Without that duality they are not what they seem.

Each of only so much time to share. When I'm not sleeping I can give my time to my work which feeds my family, to family and friends which feeds my soul, or to others which feeds the community and makes new relationships, new family and friends.

I love doing all three. Each is a choice. Each when I choose is an act of generosity.

When people hear I like to help others, sometimes they come to me to ask for help. Often they understand that when I give my time to their cause or endeavor, I am using time I might be spending on my work or with my friends and family. That's lovely, that's a gift to me. It allows me to be generous. Everyone likes to be generous. Generosity is a wonderful feeling.

Now and then others come who ask but don't realize. They expect my help. They overlook that I am giving by choice. That takes away my generous feeling -- it becomes a one-way exchange.

Every gift, every friendship goes both ways. It seems strange that because I am generous, people who don't know me expect generosity from me. It happens so often.

Generosity is a gift that disappears the second it is no longer seen.
--me strauss Letting me be


Karin H. said...

Hi Liz

First I thought I 'got it' and agreed with your way of thinking/feeling. (and thought: why is everyone today writing deep things?, head over to Marcus, you're in for something special:

Then I stopped and thought:
"Generosity is a gift that disappears the second it is no longer seen"

Seen by whom?
(Probably to deep a further thought anyway.)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Karin,
I'll go there now! Thanks for telling me.

What that means is when the receiver doesn't see the generosity, he or she turns my gift into an expectation -- my joy gets crushed.

Karin H. said...

Hi Liz

(Saw you were impressed by Marcus as much as I was).

I did know what you meant here, put my question wrong, sorry.

It's down to the old: why do I give (I know your reason, not said to you in this case, just 'random' pondering), out of generosity with expecting one to SEE that, or to be acknowledge for my generosity?

(Like I said, too deep and too far perhaps).

ME Strauss said...

No, that's not it.
People don't have to see it. That's okay if they don't see it. (by the way someone else was caught by that same sentence.)

It's when people expect the gift that they take away the generosity. By their expectation, they have "stolen" my right to be generous. The expectation of the gift removes the choice on my part to give it. . . . so to speak. So in the receiver's eyes the generosity has disappeared. In my own eyes I have lost the right and the joy of being generous whether he saw it or not -- because the expectation took it away. I hope that makes sense.

I can still give it and still know I am generous. But knowing and feeling the joy of generosity are not the same. This has nothing to do with people seeing. It has to do with feeling generous about an act.

It's similar to when someone doesn't leave a person a place to stand in an argument, because the someone talked to the person in such a way that the someone has stepped on the person's self-respect.

ME Strauss said...

What I'm trying to say is that generosity needs to have no strings either way.

No expectations from the giver or the receiver for it to be a truly generous act.

Trée said...

Liz, beautiful post. I couldn't agree more. No strings. None. And so I give to you this smile, from my heart to yours. Take it. I've got more. :-)

ME Strauss said...

Aw Tree,
Your smile is a generous and wonderful gift on a Sunday. Thank you. Funny how it turned into another smile at this end, just for me. :)

robert swayze said...

Hi Liz,
it was my pleasure to drop by ur post...I humbly appreciate ur perspective towards life...and I also believ thats the way we should live this way we can keep aside our sorrows and lead a loving life with happiness all around...sometimes its good to find solace in others happiness and thats exactly I found in ur post...keep up ur generosity..I'm sure u will never fall back in life and even if u do..u'll always have ur positive attitude to lead u to the path of wishes :)

Karin H. said...

I hear Liz ;-)

No strings, no expectations, just freely giving

the way it should without holding back or selfishly 'expecting' acknowledgement of the giving
(that's the bit I was pondering on ;-))

ME Strauss said...

Hi Robert Swayze,
Thank you for your encouragement. I hope you have a wonderful generous life yourself. It sound like you are a special one who knows how to give with an open heart. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Karin,
I'm saying is there can be unseen generosity until expectations enter. Then the action is redefined as something other than what it was. I think that's what I mean. :)