The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It's more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.
If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that—warm things, kind things, sweet things—help and comfort and laughter—and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.
My mother told me that life isn't always about pleasing yourself and that sometimes you have to do things for the sole benefit of another human being. I completely agreed with her, but reminded her that that was what blow jobs were for.
I believe the world is divided in three groups: givers, takers and the few that can balance both impulses. Giving and loving is a beautiful thing. It is the currency of compassion and kindness, it is what separates good people from the rest. And without it, the world would be a bleak place. If you are a giver, it is wise to define your boundaries because takers will take what you allow them to; all givers must learn to protect that about themselves or eventually, there is nothing left to give.
I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.
What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life. This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other—but that he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness—of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other's sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing something to life in the other person, and this which is brought to life reflects back to him.
Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?
You often say; I would give, but only to the deserving, The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and nights is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life-while you, who deem yourself a giver, is but a witness.
The next time you want to withhold your help, or your love, or your support for another for whatever the reason, ask yourself a simple question: do the reasons you want to withhold it reflect more on them or on you? And which reasons do you want defining you forevermore?
One of the greatest evils is the foolishness of a good man. For the giving man to withhold helping someone in order to first assure personal fortification is not selfish, but to elude needless self-destruction; martyrdom is only practical when the thought is to die, else a good man faces the consequence of digging a hole from which he cannot escape, and truly helps no one in the long run.
Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.... Accepting another person's gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.
Love your neighbor, even the ones who do not show you the same courtesy. You can’t expect to receive love if you’re selective and not really willing to give it. What you put into the world, you will indeed get back, even if it’s not from the person you’re expecting it to be.
Practice giving things away, not just things you don't care about, but things you do like. Remember, it is not the size of a gift, it is its quality and the amount of mental attachment you overcome that count. So don't bankrupt yourself on a momentary positive impulse, only to regret it later. Give thought to giving. Give small things, carefully, and observe the mental processes going along with the act of releasing the little thing you liked. (53) (Quote is actually Robert A F Thurman but Huston Smith, who only wrote the introduction to my edition, seems to be given full credit for this text.)
SELFLESS LOVE. If you have a special person in your life, but you find yourselves arguing, irritated and/or fighting out of the blue… you both need to try to step back and be selfless and think of the other person... with no ego of your own. No ego. We are ALL dealing with our own tough issues. We may keep them to ourselves, but we all have struggles. If you BOTH allow yourselves to step into each others shoes- to have the awareness and respect for each others issues and struggles... that will most likely allow the love that you have for each other to shine through at its brightest. There will be ups and downs- feelings of being under-appreciated for both. It will happen. But let that be the worst that happens. Unity through diversity. That's the greatest love. A selfless love. It’s paradoxical, but you each would get back more than you give out. That's the love that conquers all things that’s mentioned in the Bible. It will be challenging for both of you, but well worth it.
Secrets. Funny how, when you're about to be given something precious, something you've wanted for a long time, you suddenly feel nervous over taking it. Everyone wants more than anything to be allowed into someone else's most secret self. Everyone wants to allow someone into their most secret self. Everyone feels so alone inside that their deepest wish is for someone to know their secret being, because then they are alone no longer. Don't we all long for this? Yet when it's offered it's frightening, because you might not live up to the desires of the one who bestows the gift. And frightening because you know that accepting such a gift means you'll want-perhaps be expected- to offer a similar gift in return. Which means giving your *self* away. And what's more frightening than that?
You have what I can afford to give. You are a panhandler, begging for anything, and I am the man walking briskly by, tossing a quarter or so into your paper cup. I can afford to give you this. This does not break me.