The gift of giving.

il_570xN.393890513_9c2gThe gift of giving is that it is in itself a gift. Whether you are giving or receiving, it’s an exchange of love.

Yet the message that surrounds us is that you should you get what you can, when you can. The daily bombardment of advertising tries to convince us that you will be happier, more beautiful, more successful if you have more. Believe me. You won’t.

“You can’t find happiness in getting, but you can find happiness in giving.” ~ Joyce Meyer

It’s easy to compare yourself with others and become disenchanted with your own life. However you can be content and happy if you accept that you may not have what you want, but you do have what you need.

But just as there is a law of attraction, so there is a law of giving – you reap what you sow. Therefore sow with abundance. If you are willing to share what you have, you could find that you end up with what you want – especially if what you want is to be loved.

“Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.” ~Richard Bach

I know what it is like to have been given a second chance at life. I remember the times when it was practically impossible to give to myself let alone anyone else. Anyone who had suffered with depression will know how isolating it is and how even basic communication can be a challenge. Depression engulfs you in a bubble of despair and loneliness that prevents you from giving anything to anyone – physically or emotionally. You can’t give away to someone else what you don’t have for yourself.

One of the joys of my recovery is being able to share what I have and to be able to genuinely care about others. Every day I aim to give back in some way.Often it’s through the opportunity to respond to those who contact me to disclose their difficulties and challenges. My gift to them is a safe place to share and the promise of hope by switching on a little flicker of light as they go through the darkness.

Other times it can be gifts that I know will bless or encourage others. A thoughtful present, an offer of practical help, or an act of kindness are all things that are easy to do, yet are wonderfully rewarding.

It’s marvelous to receive, but in my eyes it’s infinitely better to give.  Paying back to those who have and continue to help me on my journey is important to me. It gives me a connection with others that I treasure and helps me appreciate what I have in my life today.

An anonymous donation reminds me that I am able to pay back what has been given to me, without the need for recognition or acknowledgement. Because life isn’t all about me. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an anonymous gift you’ll know that the joy is for more than the gift itself, it’s knowing that you meant something to someone, that they were thinking of you, that someone cared. For me, that is love in action.

“Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.” ~ Jean Anouilh

Sometimes the hardest gift of all is when you give something of yourself. If you have invested love in another only to be rejected or abused then you can become wary of giving away your love.  The fear of opening up old wounds or being hurt again can turn your heart to stone. Any trace of generosity of kindness can be overshadowed by bitterness, resentment and fear.

“The degree of loving is measured by the degree of giving.” ~ Edwin Louis Coleil_570xN.364132462_2nag

Any gift can be a gift of love if it is given willingly and without obligation. And whilst money and actual presents are always a wonderful way to show you care, there are many other ways to give that are just as valuable.

Sharing your time, your expertise, your advice, your encouragement, your support or your prayers are all ways to offer yourself to someone. .A gift can be given anytime or anywhere. It may cost nothing to you, but to them it may be priceless. And the return for you can be greater than you ever imagined.

The gift of giving is love.

37 thoughts on “The gift of giving.

  1. Giving brings great joy to my heart. It is nice to do unexpected stuff and not bathe in the glory of what you have done. I think allowing yourself to be vulnerable around someone, aka giving them your authenticity, is one of the greatest things you can do and them accepting you for it is an amazing feelings.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Hi Carolyn
    Thankyou for visiting my blog and liking my post on story-telling. I have to say the big ol’ story I’m telling myself at the moment is that I need to give more – so imagine my joy at reading your blog! As Lisa Frederiksen said up top you are an amazingly generous person – this comes across in all the posts of yours I’ve read so far. Thankyou for taking the time to stop by!

  3. Such a lovely post Carolyn! “You can be content and happy if you accept that you may not have what you want, but you do have what you need.” I too, learned this lesson the hard way, but I am happy I learned it! I had been influenced way too much by media images of what gifts should look like. And then, when faced significant challenge in my life, I learned how valuable of a gift someone’s smile is, holding hands when you most need it, a hug, a tea with a friend… I learned to appreciate these little moments and the value of them, and I know how much they mean to people in need. When we don’t have enough money to buy a pretty gift, opening our heart will do magic. It will help us give the best gift to others, our love.

  4. Beautiful post, Carolyn. And YOU are the consummate giver – truly – your inspiring posts, thoughtful sayings, generous comments on other blogs and pages in which you share your experience, strength and hope are endless gifts of love. Thank you for all that you do to help others – myself included.

  5. Indeed, giving is infinitely better than receiving, and I have come to love giving… though I must admit that my favourite thing is NOT giving. It’s when my sons give me wild flowers that they have picked ‘just because’. They epitomise, for me, the idea of giving out of pure love. It’s something with beauty and inherent grace; they teach me every day.

  6. Beautiful post, Carolyn! I’m trying to figure out why your new posts aren’t coming into my email. I clicked “Follow” a long time ago. Perhaps, I need to subscribe in the email box too. I’ll try that today. Anyway, you’re wonderful and a Gift to us all! Love & Light, Sloan

  7. This is a lovely post that I hope resonates and touches many. You are so right. Society has devolved in the past couple of generations to a gimme attitude. The first place folks need to give is the 10% we owe God. It’s all His anyway and all He wants is 10% of His own money!

  8. Wonderful post, Carolyn. Giving…who would have thought that that was the secret to happiness and contentedness? I certainly never did. I thought giving had to be this big grandiose thing – cutting a cheque for a million dollars to a shelter, or becoming a missionary and devoting a lifetime to a poor nation’s children. So since I couldn’t do those, then why bother? Add to that my inherent nature of an active alcoholic, the selfishness and self-centerdness, and well, giving is what priests, bored aunties, and strange people did.
    But what I have learned is that, like you mentioned, it’s the small things. It’s the encouragement I give someone in a meeting or online, it’s helping a mother get her stroller on the bus, it’s picking up a piece of litter on the street and putting it in the garbage, it’s taking that extra few minutes at work listening to someone open up, it’s saying Thank You, it’s sending a prayer to someone. Like you said, it’s the giving of ourselves that is priceless, and costs nothing. What a deal!

    And there might be people I can’t give back to directly – those too who helped me in my recovery, people I may never see again, but I pay it back by helping others. Whether it’s giving someone a ride, or spending some time before a meeting talking to them, or giving our a phone number, or just planting a seed of hope in someone….I give back. I think we can all still feel the joy of giving, even if the other isn’t receiving well. I think that is when the gift is even stronger.

    Love this post…uplifting on a grey day here 🙂


    • I can understand your comment about the grandiose giving so well. It’s wrong to think that only a big gesture counts. And it’s also a good excuse not to do anything! I love all the ways that you help people everyday. And I’m sure it’s very much appreciated. As is your support and encouragement. Thank you Paul 🙂

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