My husband and I have been talking about a lot of things. Our lives have changed so much in the past three months, and, more importantly, our beliefs have changed so much in the past three months, that there’s been a lot to talk about.
This happens to be one of them: you have to give first, before you receive.
I know that sounds obvious to some of you, but not to me. I was never really raised around people who gave. And my husband gives so naturally that the idea that someone might not give until they’d gotten something…well, that’s something new. And we can “know” it, intellectually, but this notion has been sinking into our hearts for some time.
The most important thing to remember is that no one owes you anything. You don’t give so that you can get something back. You give because you feel you have something of value to offer, something that will help others or brighten their lives.
But what tends to happen is that we reach a threshold, of sorts. There’s a point where the perceived value of what we offer exceeds the expectations of the person receiving. This creates gratitude on a level that makes the receiver want to give back somehow. Sometimes, there’s no way to give back. (Our family has run into that situation before.) Sometimes, we may find that the receiver puts far more value on what we’ve given than we do, and is willing to give far more than most to “re-pay the debt”.
But we have to give first. At its most base, this is the concept of “the first one’s free”. Authors who happily make sure their books are available to libraries, also fit this.
And somewhere, someone will love what you’ve given, and want to return the favor somehow. If they give to someone else, yea! You’ve just inspired altruism, the most mysterious of all animal reactions. If they give to you, accept it, and promise yourself to give something of value back to them as soon as you can. This law of kindness is how civilizations are built.
If we ask first, people might get resentful. They might wonder what you’ve done to “deserve” whatever you’re asking for. Heck, they may still ask that if you ask after you’ve given, but that’s theirs.
So today, find a way to give. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be formal. And if you give people what they truly value, we might all change the world.
These are just the thoughts I’ve been having. What do you think? Am I wrong? Is this a cold way of viewing the world? Or is this reality?
(On a side note: the rough draft of the first scene of part three of The Baker’s Wife is now available on Wattpad. Feel free to read and comment.)