Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the Conundrum of Generosity

Something I've always hated about the phrase "giving back". It takes it for granted that something has been received in the first place. It's also something I hear from other people a lot when they approach me looking for favors or advice right after I politely decline their request: "Don't you want to give back?"

No, actually. That's what happens to a person when they've spent their entire life surrounded by people that were constantly trying to gauge just how little they themselves could get away with doing for others. They don't exactly come out of that experience with a generous spirit that's just bursting at the seams with love for their fellow man. They are probably pretty stingy with their resources and they are very choosy about who, if anyone, ever gets to see that gracious, giving side of their personality.

I'm much more passive and reactionary than people think I am, meaning I almost always treat others the way I feel they've treated me. That said, if you've known me a long time and you consider me to be stingy, or manipulative, or distant but can't seem to understand why, it's probably because I feel you've been that way with me. (Either that or I legitimately just don't like you and want you to go away, but that's a whole other topic for another day entirely.)

On the flip side, it's important to me to feel like it's safe to be generous with the people I do allow to be close to me in life. Part of how I show my love for someone is by sharing everything that I have with them and by lavishing them with attention, kindness, and praise. But there's a catch... a condition. I expect to receive the same back from that person. If I put them first, I expect them to put me first. If I make them my first choice, I expect them to make me theirs. If I don't feel like I'm getting back just as much as I give or more, that connection's days are numbered. It doesn't matter what kind of relationship it is. Even family -- hell, especially family -- aren't safe from having to fulfill that condition. 

On another note, I've been feeling the need to make my Blogger blogs harder for just... people from my life to find. They're still not "secret" blogs and I'm still not particularly concerned with who reads them. But I'm tired of linking to them from profiles my real life family and friends follow. I want those people to have to work a little harder to locate my writings here, as I've grown to like coming here to just vent in general without having to deal with a lot of feedback from people I actually know well. So I suppose it could be said that I'm slowly sliding back to a place where I'm stingy even when it comes to access to my life.