Many people find the pressure of the giving season overwhelming. Thomas Fiffer offers a balanced perspective on generosity.
As a seeker of balance—also known as aplomb—I frequently find myself leaning in to ambiguity.
Maintaining poise by embracing uncertainty and accepting a world of both/and.
And savoring the sweet, delicious center of life instead of nibbling with rigid restraint at one hard edge or the other.
I find that not only enlightenment but also the bright colors of joy live not at either strictly-defined end but in the ever-morphing middle of the spectrum.
Take, for example, the art of generous giving.
There is the “selfless” giving of martyrdom that results in damaging self-sacrifice and engenders bitter resentment.
But this sort of giving is not generous, because it exacts a steep price from the recipient. Debt service is constantly demanded but impossible to repay in full.
“I do everything for you and this is the thanks I get.”
The giver doesn’t want you to have; the giver wants you to owe.
Then there is the “self-indulgent” giving, the endless overextending intended to buy the recipient’s loyalty and affection.
The flaw here is that the giver gives only because he or she wants something in return and fails to understand the true value of loyalty and affection.
That the priceless presents of loyalty and affection are not bought but won.
That these magnificent jewels are mined with massive effort, cut with consistent commitment, and polished with persistent attention and care.
Mined, not “mine.”
The balance is found in between.
In giving for the joy of giving, straight from the heart.
In giving because you want the recipient to enjoy.
Because you derive enjoyment from his enjoyment.
Because making her happy makes you happy, too.
The balance resides in the center, in the core of the shining diamond, in the brilliant light of love.
Originally published on Tom Aplomb.