To take something from yourself to give to another, that is humane and gentle and never takes away as much comfort as it brings again. ~Thomas More
When we think of donating items, we usually give from what we don’t need or no longer want, or from our excess. For instance, we may have purchased something and then changed our mind but it was past the time limit to return it; or perhaps we were trying a new recipe and bought extra of an item that we didn’t end up using and it’s still good but has gotten pushed to the back of our pantry; or we have an item that we once liked and used but, even though it’s still in good shape, we’ve moved on to something that better suits our needs.
It’s these things that we usually give away. And this is great because there is someone who can use what we never used or that no longer serves us.
I challenge you, though, to take this a step further and to give away something that you like, that you may be currently using; even something that may have meaning for you.
As Thomas More’s quote tells us, the rewards are tremendous.
Years ago I was in a business networking group that included a woman who was always cheerful and upbeat. Her business did well in spite of sluggish economies or downturns in business cycles. I attributed this to her good spirits that were infectious.
But she did something else that at the time I realized was remarkable but I’m only now understanding the profound impact it’s had in her life.
She was always giving away things she liked, even though she may have been actively using them and in spite of the fact that they might have had special meaning to her.
As an example, at one meeting a colleague complimented her on the pretty scarf she was wearing. She told the colleague the story of how she acquired it during a special vacation to the Southwest. The next morning, after having the scarf cleaned, she dropped it off at the colleague’s office.
Those of us who heard about this act were stunned, as was the colleague who received the unexpected gift. Later on, I asked the woman why she had given away a scarf she liked and that even had special memories attached to it.
Her answer was illuminating.
She said that it wasn’t the scarf that was the memory. The memories were part of her as images in her mind of the sights; as feelings of excitement of being in an interesting place; as the gratitude she felt at having the opportunity for going on the exceptional vacation with the special people in her life and as the conversations and laughter they shared; as the awe and wonder of discovering new things and sharing that with people she loved.
Although the scarf was a touchstone and could remind her, she didn’t need it. She could tune into the idea of happiness and her mind and body would be flooded with not only this memorable vacation, but also a whole host of other experiences that had given her joy.
Does this mean that her life was worry-free and that she merrily skipped from one success to another? Absolutely not. I know she had her share of frustrations, setbacks, and heartache. In spite of these she was able to thrive, not just survive, scrape by, barely make it. No. She flourished.
I think her cheerful, positive, hopeful attitude went a long way toward her prospering, but I also think it was because she was so generous and gladly gave away things she liked, things that may still have been meaningful to her.
Join me today in following today’s quote from Thomas More–and the example of my business associate–and choose one of the things we like, that we use, that may even have meaning for us and joyfully give away.
It’s a tough thing to do but I know you can do it!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,