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Giving : The Positive And Negative Effects It Can Have

Updated on August 18, 2011

What's the point of giving? Is there even any purpose for it? Is it just to show off that we have more or something better than the other person? Or is it a way to help someone else, knowing you can and have the means to? And what do we get from giving? Do we expect a favor in return? Payment? Or is the feeling enough? So many questions wrapped around one single word. I'd recently come into an experience that made me take a step back and re-evaluate my own way of thinking.

I have always been the type of person that, if you needed it, I would give you the last dollar I had. All I ask in return is that you appreciate it and spend it wisely. I never ask for anything else in return, even if the promise of paying me back is made. My life is not about money. My life is about love. Money cannot buy love. I give because I love to help other people when I am able to, whether it's by lending someone money or helping them carry a small television set from one room to another. It's not about the quantity, but the quality and knowing I did it because I care.

A few months ago, my brother got himself into a bit of a slump. He is a really giving person as well, so he's always trying to help others when he can too. I had recently told him the quote : "Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver." from Barbara De Angelis. I always like to tell my brother quotes to remind him to keep doing good, appreciate everything, and remain humble. But his answer to that quote was a bit disturbing. He started to complain about how he doesn't know what hurts more: to give and not have it noticed or to give, they notice, but take it for granted. It's not like him to think about anyone's reaction to his actions from giving. I, myself, have noticed at times that people don't always appreciate what we do, but I had hoped that he would continue to do it, like I do, because he is a good person. It seems he has forgotten the whole meaning behind giving. It's almost like he's expecting a reaction from the other person/people. It's like he craves that reaction of a "thank you" or some type of acknowledgement to his talents.

The rest of his reaction to the quote seemed to be focused more on himself than on the action or the people receiving the action. I know it hurts a lot to be unappreciated, but when we are unappreciated in a situation, the universe has a way of fading us out or fading that person/those individuals out. I've seen it happen many times and am thankful for it because it would get very tiring giving to someone that is so needy and sucks all the energy from you. It's a hard thing to tell someone who is so closed off that things will be OK if we let them be taken care of by the universe. The part of his answer that really bothered me was that he feels like he loses a pieces of himself every time. It's hard to hear that and it's hard to tell him the only reason he feels like he loses a piece of himself is because he let's it happen. I'm not saying I'm better than him because I know how to control myself, control my feelings, or control my abilities, I'm saying I know that the only way we can feel something is if we let ourselves feel it. I'm an Empath, so I know there are times when I feel emotions/feelings that are not my own, but I have come to know how to distinguish those from my own. My brother, on the other hand is a bit "behind" in learning to use his abilities (As far as I know, he's not an Empath, but he still has a lot to learn about the abilities he does have). The reason being is the same as why he's struggling with the giving "issue".

I've tried to teach my brother how to accept things, learn from them, and move on to the next level, but it seems to be a bit harder for him to grasp the concept than it was for me. I love my brother unconditionally, so I would and do gladly teach him everything I know, help him to understand things, and help him to grow spiritually, but it's like we hit a wall after a while. I have no explanation for it other than he gives up after a while and closes off to learning more because he gets overwhelmed. I think it's really ironic because I had no one for the majority of my life to help me or lean on when it came to learning any of my abilities. But here I am trying to help him, and he's doing everything he's complaining about to me. Ironic indeed.

Despite the confusion going on in my brother's head, I know giving has it's positive effects. One of my favorite experiences of giving is from when I was 20 years old. My grandfather was diagnosed as terminally ill after having a heart attack that was followed by a few other complications. At about the same time, my father had a stroke, so there were 2 of them in the hospital (2 different hospitals on top of it.) Neither my grandfather or father could take care of themselves, so my family was forced to decide what to do with them. A hospice or care home is never an option in my family, so we had to decide who was going to take care of who and when. Taking care of my dad wasn't so much of a task as it was to take care of my grandfather because we had to learn how to take care of a g-tube and a heart implant to give him some of his medicine. Long story short, I ended up taking care of my grandfather. I was more than happy to because he and my grandmother always took really good care of us grandchildren while we were growing up, and they did help me when I had a financial crunch with paying for college. After caring for him for 2 years, he passed away.

What did I get out of it? Love, appreciation, and the opportunity to spend even more time with one of the most important and influential men in my life. I could have said no and went about living my own life, but I knew deep in my heart that this was what I had to do. Not for me, not for him, but because it was what I was meant to do. To this day, I have never had any regrets about the decision I made and would gladly do it again in a heartbeat. I very dearly miss my grandfather, but having had that extra time with him made his passing a lot easier than if I had decided to do my own thing. Every time I think about him, I remember how much more I adore, appreciate, and love him because of it.

I don't know what anyone else's reason(s) for giving are, but like each of our personalities, I'm sure the answers are just as different. Having the opportunity to choose whether or not to give is something I'm glad I have the ability to do. I just hope that each and every one of you have had just as many good experiences as I have.


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