Monday, December 20, 2010

Is the ultimate joy giving and receiving at the same time?

For several years now I have embraced a philosophy in ethics called enlightened self-interest which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

Enlightened self-interest is often expressed as doing well while doing good.

I was raised with the biblical concept that It is more blessed to give than to receive. The vernacular for blessed is happy. This concept never sat well with me particularly as a child where I was definitely happier receiving than giving!

As I sat briefly in a shopping mall yesterday and observed 100’s of stressed people carrying Christmas presents and fighting one another in queues to buy gifts, it occurred to me that the ultimate joy is giving and receiving at the same time and that giving and receiving shouldn't be stressful at any time.

I would be very interested in your thoughts.

In whatever way you celebrate Christmas, and if you don’t, I wish you a joyous, stress free time in the next few days and may any reflections you have turn into actions that mean you experience joy in both giving and receiving all year round.

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1 comment:

  1. Ian,

    Yes the stress observed at this time of year is amazing. I have recently had a life experience that has seen me at the receiving end of the giving of others. Without going into detail, let's just say that the image I have had of myself has been more inclined toward being the 'giver' than the receiver of gifts.

    I have viewed the ability to 'give' as a sign of success.

    In this context being the recipient of gifts from others (gifts in the form of help) has been a very humbling experience.

    I have learned that accepting another's gift is, in itself a gift. The look on a person's face when they are giving you the gift of help is, without doubt, priceless.

    For me this has been a powerful lesson about life. It has also helped me to better understand the humility of people who I have helped. I don't think I ever understood that my giving of help to others would require humility from them. I believe I understand this now and I am thankful that their humility allowed them to accept my gift.

    In the future I will be far more conscious of the gift that people are giving me when they humbly accept my offering.