Sunday, September 17, 2017

10 Signs You’re a Selfless Giver, 5 Signs You’re Not

As discussed in, “What Motivates You to be Kind? Two Possibilities,” there are two types of giving: Self-centered giving, where one gives expecting something in return and selfless giving, where one gives for the sake of giving. Another way of looking at it is that some give from their lower selves, their egos, and some give from their higher selves, their souls. Soulful giving elevates and transforms us. In contrast, giving from the ego, while still meritorious, does not have the same transformative effect.

The irony is that when one gives to receive, the benefits to the giver are diminished. But when one gives to give, the giver ends up gaining far more than they could have imagined.

While some are predominantly either self-centered givers or selfless givers, many of us engage in both types of giving; sometimes giving from the ego, other times from the soul or a combination of both. The goal is to increase our soulful giving, where our main focus is on helping others because God commanded us to, without ulterior motives. This will strengthen our soul connection to each other and to our Creator.

5 signs of self-centered givers:

1. For those in their inner circle, who will likely repay the favor, no request is too big, but the needs of others are low priority.

2. They will readily do anything for a person they want to show what a great friend they are, but when it comes to helping their own parents or siblings, they drag their feet.

3. They are willing to do kind acts if easily performed. But if they would be inconvenienced in any way, they are not interested.

4. They are willing to help someone once, especially if they will receive praise, but after the novelty of the act wears off, they lose interest.

5. They give generously to charity, but when it comes to business matters, they withhold monies due to others, do not keep their word, or use cutthroat tactics to get their way.

Can any of us say that we never engage in self-centered giving? That we never ignore the plight of people in our community because they are not in our circle of friends? That we never give priority to friends over helping our own parents or siblings? That we never turn down a legitimate request just because we did not want to be bothered? That we never help someone once but do not follow up to see if they need further assistance? That we never act two faced, kind and generous to some, while to others, uncaring and even hurtful?

Many of us stumble in at least one of these areas. Choose one to upgrade.

Even if you occasionally engage in self-centered giving, there are times you likely engage in selfless giving. During those times, you give because you love and care about others, as God has commanded us, (Leviticus 19:18), “…You shall love your fellow as yourself…” God has no ego and gives selflessly; you give selflessly because you want to emulate God and “…walk in His ways (Deuteronomy, 28:9).”

When you give selflessly, you do not ignore the self; you first take care of your and your family’s needs, and then look for ways to be of service to others.

10 signs you are a selfless giver:

1. You help people without expecting anything in return, even a thank you.

2. When you can, you help people even when it’s inconvenient, time consuming, or you just don’t feel like it.

3. You help people with a smile and look for ways so that they don’t feel bad about being on the receiving end.

4. You try to help people anonymously, and when you can’t, you do the act of kindness on their terms, asking what would be most helpful to them.

5. You help people on an ongoing basis if necessary, even after “the crisis” has passed, and even when you no longer receive a big “thank you.”

6. You ask others to assist in acts of kindness, because you realize that together much more can be accomplished.

7. Whatever you have, you look for ways to share it with those in need. Sometimes it is money, other times advice, connections, hospitality, a ride, a listening ear, physical assistance, encouragement or a compliment.

8. You are a force of goodness and generosity in all areas of your life, including with your family, business associates, subordinates and employees.

9. You look for ways to be of service to others and do not wait to be asked.

10. You focus not only on the “big” acts of kindness, but also on the “little” acts, the daily opportunities to be friendly, considerate and helpful to others.

Which ones from the above list do you already do? Congratulate and compliment yourself. It is not easy giving selflessly! It takes a conscious effort to go out of your way for others. Pick one area from this list that you do not yet do and choose one tangible step you will take to become a more selfless, soulful giver.

Judging from news stories, there seems to be an increase in acts of senseless cruelty, people who harm others for no reason or benefit. The only possible benefit from these heinous acts is inflating the perpetrator’s ego, which glorifies in its power over another. A person who recognizes their own Godliness and the Godliness of others, would be incapable of acts of cruelty. When you recognize the soul within another person – seeing their Godliness – you cannot help but want to give to them in any way you can; to connect with them, one soul to another.

We must counteract this disturbing rise in cruelty, by engaging in soulful, selfless acts of kindness and avoiding any act which contains even a tinge of cruelty or callousness. We must look for the holiness within all of us and seek out ways to help others; ways to lighten their burden and soothe their pain. Certainly, God forbid, ensuring that we are not a source of that pain.

Ask yourself, “Who have I caused pain, emotional or financial, by what I said or did? When will I ask them for forgiveness? Whose plight have I been ignoring? When will I take the first step to helping them?”

From the ego’s materialistic perspective, the physical world is one of limited resources. When the ego gives to another, it feels diminished and left with less. It lives in a self-centered world of stinginess, pettiness and jealousy. In contrast, from the soul’s spiritual perspective, it realizes it can never be diminished and is always connected to God.

When we give from our souls, we transcend a scarcity mindset and embrace an abundance one. We give generously and are content with what we have; happy to help those in need and happy for the success of others. When we give from our souls, we tap into the oneness of life, oneness with each other and oneness with our Creator – the source of infinite blessing.

See, "I Am a Selfless Giver" for a one page printable PDF you can post on your fridge. 

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