Ive written about giving/gifting on here quiet a bit apparently. Here and here and these lines from the second post jumped at me. Guess I haven’t changed much in 4 years after all, at least not in this regard.
Perhaps my giving was tainted after all? Maybe I was expecting something in return? Consciously and as honestly as I can say all that I expected in return was a smile and a happiness that I had reached out, and perhaps an acknowledgment. But then not everyone can look at an act the way it was meant to be understood by the initiator. Hence there is a dialog on the why, what and how of the act.
That brought the question of expectations after an act of giving.
So ultimately, I come up with this question: Is there an act out there that does not have an expectation attached to it? There should be. I’ve known it, and have been at both ends of it, more on the giving than receiving, but it exists.I know.
Something happened yesterday that made me go back and reflect on this whole giving.
I love giving. It just makes me happy. In all my earnestness and to bring similar joy, I think a lot over a gift. I ruminate, stress, search and think some more on the perfect gift. I weight choices, wishes, likes, dislikes, costs and I buy. The amount of time I spend on each gift will (naturally) vary on how close the person is, but thought is most definitely put into it.
In most cases, Ive had folks come back to tell me how much they liked it – and not just the polite “ooo, i love it” kinda responses – but heartfelt ones and it makes me feel like the happiest luckiest person alive on earth. I feel exuberantly happy. Like a child, I clap my hands and grin and clap some more. yes, I do look juvenile and crazy, but then it’s infectious enough when people start mimicking me without effort and it’s all one laugh-giggle fest we are engulfed in.
It’s fun right? It so is.
So it’s all good and warm and fuzzy and we go our separate ways and lives right?
So this instance is sightly different. It was a token. A memory. Of time spent, a reminder of the joy of the particular event and time. Just like you mark the moment on the calendar. Like a tattoo even perhaps.
So I gave. It was received. All happy.
When we go on with our lives, is it wrong of me to continue to hold any kind of expectation over the token? I thought about that long and hard, after I came to know that the token went missing and is no more in the possession of the person it belonged to. My first initial reaction was sadness. one feels sad when we miss or lose something. It’s natural. Things tend to get misplaced and it’s perfectly OK to lose them. No one’s to blame really, and blame games are just dirty, so there was no point going down that path.
Then anger came. Slowly. ..and soon I was engulfed in it. I was so angry that tears shook me, and they weren’t sad or ones that I bend over and console myself in a piteous state. These were the kind that made every unfair act ever happened to you seem pale in comparison, like I was a child whose candy was taken away for no fault of hers, angry, petulant, hot tears rolled down.
Usually I never keep it in, but I did this time. It was easier than I thought. (in retrospect, I know how I did it, and despite what I felt, apparently I do have the power in me to stop and pause on the situation on the other side, I was growing up after all.)
I asked “how could you?” – in anguish and pain I felt ripping me inside and I stressed on how much *I* loved it, and how much *I* loved it on the person. I was stressing on *me* – but wait a second:
why am *I* suddenly so important?
I gave the token away. It is not mine anymore.
What the giftee does with it is really none of my business.
Yeah. Except that unfortunately, this wasn’t just about the artifact, but what it represented. To me, it was more than the tangible piece of metal that it was. It was my first gift that meant so much (to me) and somehow it seemed like I was cheated off of continued happiness when it didn’t stay where it was meant to. No one usually goes around checking on the status of a gift. I don’t. This was an exception coz of the place it represented in my heart. I guess my peeve was not about the loss, but it was my extrapolation that it didn’t matter to them as much as it did to me.
Coz I guard my tokens with my life. I am not a very organized person in general, but some things are zealously guarded and I pride myself on the care I invest in them. Sometimes my expectations of people are unreal and that’s why I hurt myself of no fault of theirs but my own.
Then again, I console myself, the memory of the time and the experience stayed right? No one could take that from me? Correct? Correct.
So it boils down to the question of continued expectations that we hold on to long after our deed is done.
With all this new found wisdom in me, the only natural take away was for me to let it all go. To let go of the anger, the sadness, the disappointment, the feeling of being cheated of continued happiness, and to hold on to what I *know* – and that is, the token is just that. The friendship will stay. The warmth will stay. From me, within me and will radiate out from me.
Will I get anything in return?
I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate. Only think am sure of is me.
What I get will be a gift.
One that I will accept with open arms and happiness, coz in this day and age – to be at the receiving end of a gift is a miracle and a boon.
There aren’t very many givers left out there. Least I can do is to stay honest to myself and give, when I can, and when the recipient is in a position to gracefully accept what I can give. Coz, forget giving happiness, one must not give grief and stress and sorrow.