Monday, November 3, 2008

Are You A Stingy Gifter?

My friend, Chris, said something that I thought would be good to share. The holidays zooming at us provide great opportunity to consider how we share and give gifts. Chris was describing how she and her husband, Brian, have 'adopted' an elderly lady who has been kind and generous to them.

Marie is 'financially' poor. I say financially because in spirit Marie is quite wealthy, sharing what she has with her friends and family. She does it all the time; it's her way of taking care of the ones she loves. Chris & Brian often take Marie grocery shopping and then pay the tab for what she puts in her cart. They are happy to have the opportunity to take care of this kind woman.

Recently, Chris has become frustrated when she learned that as soon as Marie can get her pasta made, her sauce jarred, or other goodies ready, she gives them away. Chris thinks that since she and Brian pay for the food so Marie can survive, she shouldn't be giving it away. She's told Marie and also suggested that if she wants to do that, she and Brian aren't likely to continue helping with the grocery bill. Seems pretty reasonable; Marie's family certainly doesn't step-up to help but they take what she gives them. Chris' goal is to make sure her friend has what she needs, not feed the mooching family!

Except, it isn't reasonable. If you truly give a gift, you can't attach restrictions to it. If it's really a gift, you can't tell the recipient how to use it. Giving someone something isn't an opportunity for you to feel superior believing you know what's good for them. A gift doesn't come with a contract and strings. You must genuinely give it to be used as the person wishes. Otherwise, it's not a gift, it's an obligation- to you. Not reasonable.

In healthy relationships, both parties are on equal footing. One is not more-than while the other is less-than; you are peers who share an equal exchange of energy. Sometimes you give and they take, and the reverse also happens. If you have more personal wealth and wish to help, you must also allow your friend to stay your peer by sharing what they can, how they can. That sharing can be with you, or they might wish to pass the gift along to others.

Are your intentions honest? Are you really giving a gift, or are you expecting the recipient to be beholding to you? When I asked Chris, she thought for a minute and then answered, "I guess I hadn't thought of it like that. I was trying to take care of her. But, looking at it your way, I've been a stingy gifter!" Yep. That's exactly right. I couldn't have named it better.

Don't be stingy. Give with an open heart and hands and let the gift work as it will. No stingy gifting this year, okay? Give and let it go. The person who receives your generosity will be better for it that way. We feel good when we've helped others; those of us who can give are blessed. If your gift gives the recipient the chance to feel good because they are then able to give, it doubles in its positive energy and they are blessed as well. What a gift, no strings attached. Thanks for the lesson, Chris!

Namaste' Till Next Time,


Eileen said...

How timely this message comes along. Thanks to Chris for prompting this dialogue and thank you Holly for your wonderful reminder of the true meaning of a gift and the validity to let the receiver pass it forward.

Chris Ruebel-Lantz said...

Thank God for your insight on things. Holly you make me a better person, for that I Thank You


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