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Tiny Wisdom: The Good That We Can Give

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill

As someone whose profession requires me to spend a great deal of time alone, I’m always trying to strike a balance between solitude and connection; so yesterday I decided to write from this courtyard outside the activity center in my apartment community.

I ended up sitting next to two men who I overheard discussing something that sounded personal.

I didn’t stay for long, at the risk of being intrusive, but I quickly realized one of the men was coaching the other to be more confident when meeting new people.

He told him to close his eyes and call to mind positive things that made him feel self-assured, happy, and peaceful. Then he asked him to open his eyes and introduce himself, while mentally reinforcing that he wants something for the other person, not from him.

This simple suggestion hit me as quite profound. It begged the question: What’s the difference between approaching someone as if there’s something you need to get and approaching someone as if there’s something you want to give?

If we want something from people, we come to them from a place of lack, unbalance, and maybe even neediness.

If we want something for people, we come to them from a place of wholeness, presence, and maybe even love.

And it’s not just about self-confidence or altruism. It’s also about taking responsibility for creating positive energy around us, which inevitably multiples.

When we give good thoughts, good vibes, and a smile, we generally get it back.

Though I had moved to sit further away from the men, I could still overhear their conversation—and I eventually realized one was actually coaching the other to be a successful salesman.

Turns out he would want something from the people he would meet.

Still, I was grateful this message came to me, because I found it inspiring, and I knew upon hearing it that I wanted to give it to you.

Inevitably we are going to want things from other people. Hopefully we’ll be able to be honest about that and simply ask for what we need.

But when we don’t, perhaps we can share a little light by approaching each other with the intention of giving something good.

We all have so much to give. We just need to consciously choose to access and share it.

Photo by ganesha.isis


About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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