Defining an adverb isn’t the easiest thing in the world, so today we’re taking things a little easier on ourselves.
We’re figuring out what the spirit of giving actually is. (Gulp!)
Everybody — we hope! — knows how great it is to receive things.
Hey – new stuff! Right?
Still, it goes a lot deeper than that. When you receive something, it means somebody cares about you.
Somebody is making a statement to say: I’m celebrating with you, I care about you, I’m thinking of you, I want to encourage you, I miss you, I’m happy when you’re happy, I’m glad you’re healing, I accept you, I love you.
This is well established among family and friends — but how far does it go?
If the spirit of giving works best among family and friends, do the words I accept you really mean:
I love you because you’re a reflection of me?
I love you because you’re unique?
It’s a key question.
Why? Well, figuring out how this works within a close-knit group means we can expand it out across our whole society.
In the United Kingdom, there is often anxious talk among fathers about how they would feel should their children grow up and decide to follow a different soccer team!
Happily, even in a land where the love of soccer causes sometimes terrifying tribalism, the subject usually becomes the stuff of jokes pretty quickly. Or half jokes.
But not everything does.
Here is how it breaks down, in highly intellectual terms! (Sort of):
- A group becomes an extended family, the extended family becomes the tribe, the tribe accepts its own and rejects outsiders
- Increasing similarity within a tribe reinforces acceptance of existing members and mistrust of anybody different
- Rejection of outsiders magnifies the acceptance of tribe members
In what way can the spirit of giving exist under those conditions?
Being rewarded for being the same, or rewarding others for being the same, has nothing to do with real giving.
Because the spirit of giving isn’t tribal — it’s human.
In a family, the rejection of a family member whose values don’t/can’t reflect the established values of the family means the spirit of giving isn’t really there.
In society, the rejection of a group who are not similar to that society’s group, in one or more ways, means the spirit of giving isn’t really there.
And this is where it gets interesting.
The person who rejects tribal thinking to embrace the humanity of an “outsider” becomes unique in that moment.
Rules created by primal fears have been broken and the result is a celebration. Yay!
The spirit of giving is alive.
Or to be pragmatic about it, let’s look at a company like — ehm — Lovingly!
The Lovingly team is made up of people from different races, different backgrounds, different sexual orientations, different beliefs, different views about turning up for meetings on time (Ok – that’s just me.)
If we put up with each other resentfully, for our salaries, we couldn’t function creatively.
The company would implode. And we’ve existed for more than a decade.
It’s said that travel broadens the mind. However, in a country like America — celebrated internationally as a cultural melting pot — it only takes pride in one’s country to accept other people at a human level, regardless of differences.
Some just call it Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Inclusivity becomes natural in that context. Accepting becomes a central part of the spirit of giving. And celebrating the differences that make us unique is simply part of life.
So love is a gift to be shared.
And shared unconditionally — because you can’t put conditions on a gift.
It’s a simple enough philosophy, but it works for us at Lovingly.
We hope it works for you, too.
And if it does, hey, share the thought!