Throughout my life, I have always been fairly generous when it comes to giving time and resources to others. Whether it's helping someone with something that's going on in their life or simply putting thought into a meaningful birthday gift, I have been a giving person for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I want to focus in on what it truly means to give to others.
In the chaos of life, it is easy to get caught up in less meaningful actions and situations. Because everything and everyone is so fast paced, the simple act of giving becomes a relay to when we can be receiving. In other words, whether consciously or subconsciously, we are getting into the habit of giving to others and expecting them to match our efforts. Don't get me wrong, reciprocation can be important; however, being generous towards others should not be motivated by selfish desires.
Just as giving to others is not about receiving something for oneself, giving to others is also not about public recognition and praise. It gets to a point where you may need to ask yourself, "Am I giving this time or resource to this person in a genuine act of thoughtfulness and selflessness, or am I doing this so they think more highly of me or so they do something for me in return?"
To a certain extent it is natural to, on some level, get into the habit of giving to others out of pure ritualism and obligation. Let's look at one of the definitions for "give."
freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to.
I think it is important to notice the word "freely" in this definition. It doesn't mention anything about keeping records of who owes you something because of what you have given to them.
All of this might seem super obvious and pointless for stating, but I think it is important to take a step back every once in a while and look at not only what we are aiming to accomplish, but also at what the motivation behind our actions is. It allows room for humbling ourselves and for remembering who we are along with who we are trying to become.
I find myself getting caught up in anger if someone neglected to respond to my act of giving, but I always try to remind myself that I do what I do in the attempt of making others' days and lives better and brighter, rather than for the purpose of checking a good deed off of my list of things to do.
Remember to give generously, selflessly, whole-heartedly, and genuinely. Small seeds of genuine and thoughtful intentions can go a long way.