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What do you give away?

People give away advice, time, sex, clothing, brides, secrets, pieces of their soul, professional services, to name a few. But these aren’t all equal. Any of these given away in excess can be a problem. But so can never giving them away (except maybe a bride, in my case).

So, how do you decide when giving something away is a good thing or a bad thing? Do you give the wrong stuff away, say, sex or advice, too easily? And maybe not enough of the good stuff, like your free time or excess veggies from your garden? Does giving away stuff make you feel proud or righteous? Or does giving something away make you feel crummy?

In life, there are few right and wrongs, which guarantees that life stays interesting, if uncertain. Giving away advice is only wrong if it’s unwanted, and if you never take it yourself. But giving away excess garlic presses is nearly always a good thing. Freeing yourself of unused and unwanted items doesn’t create only physical space but psychological space as well. It leaves you with a feeling of lightness of mind that didn’t exist. That space is now a vessel that can be filled with something more nourishing than stuff. It also reminds us that we don’t need as much, not to mention that others may need them more than we do.

Motives play a big role in giving things away. Some of us give pieces of ourselves away too freely and are left resentful. We do that because we’re insecure or fearful. We viewed a gesture as kind or maybe even a sacrifice, only to not get something in return. Is it the recipient’s fault? Or is it ours for giving it away with a motive attached (a motive we may not have realized was there)? A consultant can give away their proprietary services in the hopes of paying work down the road. Is that an act of generosity, a good tactic or a strategy that can backfire because it’s motivated by fear of loss?

Giving something away seems easier when we’re feeling abundant. But spiritual wisdom suggests the reverse—that giving something away creates a feeling of abundance. This is difficult if you operate as though there is not enough love, stuff, time, food or friendship to go around.

Are there things you give away out of fear? Are there things you don’t give away out of fear?

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