‘My name is Gaina and I’m a reformed curmudgeon’.
For many years I was steadfast in my refusal to give and to serve others. Giving and general kindness on my part resulted in being stolen from – on both a physical and emotional level, and the level of grief I felt always seemed directionally proportional to the people I was kindest to and loved the most. So, my giving stopped and I grew more scornful by the day of others who found joy in giving…what kind of idiot allows themselves to be abused like this and by people who haven’t done a single thing to prove their worthiness of your generosity?
Yes, the joy of giving had well and truly left me and I became cynical and completely closed off to any suggestion of trusting another human being – every instance of generosity and humanity that came into my consciousness was greeted with a derisory snort and a ‘yeah, right – gotta be something in it for them, nobody is generous for no reason’. Looking back it was a very sad way to view the world but at the time I saw it as the adult thing to do and it made me clever, strong and utterly immune to abuse. Not like those naïve saps being exploited from every angle.
I can’t rightly tell you the day or the hour when my attitude changed, but it did. I don’t know if it was my self-imposed period of solitude after the bad experience I’d had at University or simply just learning a bit more about myself that made me lose the fear of being ‘stolen from’, but I find myself much more relaxed about taking risks on people and investing my emotions in things. The friends I have now have lead me down a path of giving my time, my energy and my passion to my environment and my fellow human being without the guarantee that it will actually come to anything or that I’ll be ‘rewarded’ in some way. But you know what? I don’t care. I’ve learned that life – as in nature – is a series of gains and losses and it MUST be this way, the Yin and the Yang for balance to be maintained – empty the vessel so it can be filled again.
Put simply, focussing on the process of giving for its own sake is a joy.
Of course I still have that occasional panic when something or someone really matters to me and I think ‘Oh shit! What am I doing!? This could all unravel and my investment will be for nothing!’ These are the times when I have to put my Big Girl Buddha Pants on and gently tell myself that I’ve experience loss before, and while it stings at the time, those loses have been far outweighed by the joy of committing myself and seeing something grow and in turn provide me with more pleasure as a direct result of entering into things with a fully giving attitude. Finding joy in the process and investing less in the result makes for a far more peaceful mind.