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Today, I felt the urge of writing further about “The True Meaning of Giving” responding to some of the queries that I’ve received about the general definition people have about “giving”. I’d like to shed light on the essence of giving in my view and point out that it’s rather a much broader concept than many of us has confined it. I’d also like to clarify few misconceptions about “giving”, from the feedback that I’ve received.

Perhaps, the first two things that generally come to our minds when we hear the word “giving” is either charity i.e. giving money or volunteering i.e. giving time and in spite of both areas being widely accepted forms of giving in the society, I say both are still relatively a portion of a big pie called “giving”. It’s also worth discussing here the bigger impact created by the form of “giving” we choose to be part of. Although being a very noble way to contribute to or relieve our less fortunate brothers and sisters around the world, most charitable and voluntary efforts tend to have a short term impact on the receivers through providing core needs like food, drink, shelter and cloths. This in my opinion will not support the receiving individuals or communities to sustain long term advantage, therefore, the aid will be expected to come again and the question here is: “What value this kind of giving has added to the world so far”?

In best case scenario’s, there will be schools, hospitals or larger investments done through such humanitarian efforts to drive long term social and economical values like education or health. I particularly admire those developmental projects or initiatives that are launched to empower individuals or communities to run their lives by giving them the right tools and further, teaching them how to use these tools to create a more promising future for them and their families. I commend programs that coach and mentor people on how to be productive members in the society, how to get the right education that will enlighten their lives and in turn they can be a blessing to others once they are self-sufficient themselves. You can imagine the kind of world we will be creating if each one of us contributed by “giving” a solution to others problems that can shift their lives rather than just “giving” them a meal or some money that can only last for a day or so. The beauty is in “giving” people hope by altering the way they choose to live their life positively. For me, this is the true meaning of giving. In this occasion, I can’t help mentioning the Chinese quote that says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

Furthermore, one of the most common misconceptions about “giving” I wanted to clarify here, is that people mostly want to have the “saint” mentality when they think of “giving”. I heard many comments around: “if there is a personal gain for me by doing this or that, then how can that be related to giving?”, implying that “giving” must in all cases be one sided or without a return!!! I don’t even know from where such distorted image of “giving” has been originated. In life, balance is required to ensure consistency and continuity. One thing we need to understand is that God has created this universe with abundance. There are enough things for everyone in here and sharing will even create plenty of supply.

Researches have shown that people do strive for reciprocity in the long run and that people who get some sort of material or emotional rewards as a result of their contributions are more likely to give more; and this is a basic human need as well. So, depriving yourself in order to give others will ensure that even if you give, you don’t give with love, at the same time; your giving activities will not last for long time because you are unable to see the: “What is in it for Me”? Mother Teresa said: “It’s not how much we give; but how much love we put into giving”.

In the hadith of prophet Mohammed (PBUH): “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”; is a strong indication that this balance is a requirement of our human nature to have healthy individuals and peaceful societies. You are an emotionally healthy individual if you love good things for yourself. Equally important; is that you must love for your fellow humans the same good that you choose for yourself. If any of the two conditions are missing; then you are nor a true believer neither an effective giver.

To conclude, “giving” is a very deep term, we cannot limit it to few handful activities just because this what we mostly see common around us. The essence of “giving” is in freeing people from their psychological chains or idols, altering their way of thinking by providing solutions, revealing to them new possibilities they never heard of and empowering them to take charge of their lives once again. I truly believe in dedicating personal time to share knowledge, train and coach others to help them succeed spiritually, mentally and physically. Once they succeed, they are ready to make a wider impact in other people’s lives by helping them succeed as well. Here, I can proudly say that we have understood the true meaning of “giving”.

Source by Mona AlHebsi

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