For as long as I can remember, I’ve been aware of the fact that the trajectory of my life was (and always would be) entirely in my control; that every choice I made would produce an outcome, or consequence, to which only I would remain responsible for. It’s a trial-and-error experiment that can only go one way or the other, both outcomes so polarizing that they steal from the alternative the deeper and father we fall. The more we get in life, the more we need to give. The more we contribute to the lives of others, the more we [inherently] need to receive — emotionally, physically, or financially dependent entirely on need. This is called validation.
Every minute of every day this trial-and-error experiment (aka, “life”) is in-progress for all of us and we need to work to balance the inherent need to help others against the people (read: everyone and anyone), for example, can oftentimes produce the unwanted consequence of feeling taken advantage of — and used.
That’s not to say that helping people will always leave you feeling taken advantage of or used; it has everything to do with intent; it’s only when we help those who take advantage of us that we feel this way. There is a deeply meaningful, emotional connection that is made when one person helps another truly deserving person. It fills the deserving person with gratitude, a sense of ease, and overall trust which ultimately increases their level of respect for you (the giver) and for “the giver,” they walk away feeling needed, and loved, and appreciated.
It’s only when you become aware of your true intent that you’re able to produce different, positive outcomes. That means, with unwavering determination, you need to commit to things that only come for the truth of who you are — and do for others only what you can.
The hidden message, in the above, is “Doing for others only what you can:”
- If the gift is financial, you need to be able to part with that capital and never see it again. Because, in all reality, there’s a higher chance that you won’t (see it again) than you ever might. If the gift is time or professional service, that time needs to be equally accounted for — in the same way that capital is.
- If you don’t have time in your calendar or the resources to float to cover “the cost,” you simply cannot do it, and that is the only excuse (read: explanation) you need to provide, that of the consequence: “I fear this pro bono project will ultimately be too much for me to handle. Committing to the work will only go on to create resentment for the project and add stress to our relationship, however, I will work with you to find another reputable, and able assistant.”
The thing I know for sure, with a crystal-like clarity, is that wherever we are now, whatever our individual situations may be, we have played a starring role in getting here. It’s us, as individuals, who have created our circumstances — thought by thought, choice by choice. And beneath the surface of each of those thoughts and choices lie our deepest intention. If we want to grow and change the trajectory of our lives in one way or another, we need to start by looking into the intentions that have motivated, inspired, and guided us through our past.