When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. – Maya Angelou
Giving is a gift that blesses the giver and the receiver if it is done in the right way and with the right attitude.
In my last article, The Right Way to Give, I described in detail, the characteristics of the highest and noblest way of giving. This type of giving is totally selfless. Giving is a magnanimous expression of the feelings of love and gratitude in the heart of the giver.
In this article, I describe the mediocre way of giving where the giver gives with strings attached.
We see this type of mediocre giving around us everyday in the business world and in personal relationships.
It’s common practice for businesses to provide quality customer service in order to grow and succeed. Personally, many of our everyday relationships are also transactional. If you don’t reciprocate, you may lose some of your friends.
The description here is given not so we can judge and point fingers at others, but to become aware of our own motives when we give.
Signs of Mediocre Giving
1. Tangible and intangible rewards expected.
“I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.”
In mediocre giving, one gives only to gain some reward.
Money, gifts, services and flattering are ways in which one gives so as to secure some monetary rewards, special favors or privileges.
Sometimes, the giver wants something intangible such as praise, appreciation, acknowledgement, applause, goodwill of others and a feeling of self-importance.
2. There is no sincere desire to give.
The giving is offered only after being asked or when compelled to give.
A transactional giver gives only as much as what is asked or expected of him and nothing more. After all, he isn’t giving out of the goodness of his heart. It even hurts him to give.
If he gives more than what is expected, you better watch out – his demands and expectations of returns are loud and clear.
When he is not given special treatment, he becomes cranky or downright mad.
3. Gives and never forgets
This type of a giver never emotionally parts with his gift. He constantly reminds you and everyone else that he gave you that gift. What’s more, he expects you to use it the way he thinks you should.
For example, he gifts you with a framed piece of art for your new home. He takes the liberty of telling you where and how to display it. If you move it, he’ll ask about its whereabouts and hints that it would look better where he had recommended.
4. Giving with pride
Such a giver feels proud of what he gives. He may give very little or he may deliberately give large amounts or fancy and expensive gifts. He gives just to impress others or feed his own ego. If others are not talking, then he himself cannot stop talking about his ‘generosity’.
If such a proud donor has contributed towards an organization or cause, he expects his name to be mentioned in some printed literature, website, or displayed on a plaque or in stone for all to see. In addition, he expects special treatment and privileges.
4. Giving is miserly, with reluctance and regret
He is acutely aware of every penny that he donated and has great expectations for returns for his ‘large-heartedness’ and help.
He is reluctant to give and often, he regrets parting with his possessions or wealth immediately after giving them away.
5. The quality of the gift is lacking
The quality of the gift or donation may be mediocre or poor quality. The giver may give something that is broken, unwanted or useless to him.
Overused clothes, personal items, broken household items and furniture are items that this type of a giver donates.
6. The giver often doubts his first instinct to give
When a noble thought of giving comes to him, his mind is thrown into indecision. He second guesses himself, “Should I, or shouldn’t I?” “Should I give ‘x’ amount of dollars or should I give ‘y’?”
He takes so long to decide that he finally convinces himself that he needn’t give as much or worse, doesn’t give anything at all.
Be a noble giver
Being aware and honest with yourself about the motives behind your giving is a simple place to start becoming a noble giver.
In my next article, the last in this series on giving, I will portray the lowest form of giving, sum up the entire topic on the right way to give.
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