Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Givers and the Keepers

There are two types of people.

The Givers: those who find it easy to give to others.

The Keepers: those who feel that when they give something away they are the lesser for it, that in giving away they lose out on something.

This second group can feel this way with all sorts of objects.

Some don't want to give things to the op shop, just in case they might need it themselves in seven years. They worry about who might receive the goods they donate. There is the worry that any financial donation they give will be used up in administration or swallowed up by some dodgy charity group. These are reasonable concerns because charity groups do have expenses and some groups (not mentioning Shane Warne Foundation here) do find ways to spend millions of dollars on swanky events rather than the people they are meant to support. It's possible that your op shop donations might even go to someone with a drug addiction, or to a person who has no job, even if you don't like people with a drug addiction or people who have no job.

But the problem is the Keepers are missing out by not being more generous. If you think of how great it feels when you de clutter a wardrobe, or a kitchen drawer or a work space. How nice it is to know someone else can benefit from items you are no longer using?

Giving to other people feels good. Knowing that stuff you once loved and used but no longer need can make someone else happy is a great feeling.

Freeing the space you live in to only have the things you really love gives you more space, less to clean, and new spots to fill with new treasures you find.

Donating money to things like research helps come up with cures for diseases that your children might one day get. Imagine knowing that you don't have to worry about your daughters getting cervical cancer because there is a vaccine that they will get in high school which will decrease the possibility to a very very low chance? When it comes to research there will never be enough money so every dollar really does help.

Giving a little bit of what you have to people who don't have much will not make you sad or lonely or destitute. It's likely to make you smile. Smiling makes you happy. Being happier makes you healthier and being healthier makes your life better.

I am not writing this post as a request for money. This is not asking for you to do anything, other than to consider how you feel at the idea of giving away something that is yours.

I am also not suggesting that you leave all the money in your Will to the local dog shelter or that you fill every coin shaking can with every dollar you have. It's just a post to suggest that next time you are asked to buy a chocolate, that you don't feel as though you will be the lesser for buying one. If you are cleaning out a shed or a cupboard and sorting through things you haven't used in a long time, don't think about how you might (probably never) use it in the future, think about how good it will be for you to make space for something else.

And remember that giving comes in so many forms, including your time and your heart and your skills. Being able to teach someone a skill that you have (languages, music, to drive, to cook) is donating your valuable time. Perhaps you can call an elderly person who lives alone or drive someone to a scary medical appointment and sit with them in the waiting room.

Even if you're already a Giver, most of us might be able to give just a teeny tiny bit more. I am sure I can, I just need to remind myself that I'll likely gain so much more from the giving than the not giving.


  1. I love to give! It is such a wonderful feeling to give to others.

  2. Great post Claire! I am a giver. Especially when it comes to giving away stuff I know I don't need anymore but are in still fab condition. I LOVE giving. Because it reduces clutter too ;) And better yet, when it goes to people who would actually use them rather than sit in your house collecting dust and taking up space.


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