Life is About Giving, Not Having

Notice I Didn't Say "Getting"

One thing I’ve learned in the soul searching that has followed my illness(es) and recovery is that life is about giving, not about what you have, what you accumulate or anything else. When we think of “giving”, often the first ideas that come to mind are those of giving “objects” or things. But you can give so much more. I realized this when I was trying to figure out how to be in a life of service when I “have to go to work everyday”.  It came to me that there are so many other ways to give to people.

I have a confession of sorts regarding this. I believe that there are about 3 books in me that would really help others but for some reason I can’t get them out on paper (or the computer). I run into the stumbling block of feeling as if I’m not worthy, that I don’t have anything new that would help people. I know all of this is a deep down problem in me but it leads to procrastination and not doing anything…and that leads to frustration etc etc….I’m sure some of you reading this know that drill and may have even circled the same drain.

But that was a digression. My point to all of this is that whatever you have around you or inside of you might be something very valuable and helpful for others. Use that as incentive to clean out your closet or pantry and donate the items you don’t need or use. Or listen to folks around you at work or in your social activities and see if they mention they need something – then take inventory in your mind and decide if you have that same object that you could give to them. Nothing will give you a better feeling, believe me!

Even if you don’t have physical objects either to give away or that people seem to want, you have yourself to give. Ask someone how they’re doing or how they are feeling. Express real interest in an answer…not the usual “how are you?” associated with the hope that the other person will say “fine” and you can go about your business. Maybe that person is having a bad day or a bad time in life and could use an ear. If you don’t express sincerity and ask, you may be holding onto one of the most important gifts you can ever give to someone – love and concern for their well being.

You never, ever know what a difference you will make in someone’s life. When I was in the hospital, it was very lonely and scary and during one of the hospitalizations it was as if everyone at work forgot me. Not that I wanted visitors (I was a bit too sick) but a text or an email is a welcome sight when you feel all alone. How long does it take you to send  a text? How much effort? Not much at all to write “thinking of you”. I can tell you personally how much that means to someone – it means a great deal more than the time it took you to write the words.

Think about everything we waste time doing and then try to think of one or more ways you can give to others every day and then keep track of what you gave, who you gave it to and how you felt. Not, what you got or what you have but what you felt. I believe it will fill you up with the most wonderful feelings you can possibly imagine.

Try it and let everyone know about it. Help it spread. Kindness and love really can be contagious!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Life is About Giving, Not Having

  1. Terrie,
    Thanks for taking the time to write these words. It should make all of us think about sharing
    You and I passed so briefly in life, but I want you to know you have been an inspiration since that meeting at Castle Rock. I wish the best for you.

    • Thanks so much Bob. I, too, am amazed at how much impact we had on each other with such a short meeting and passing. Castle Rock and Laz really do have magic. I am so grateful that I met you and that we do keep in touch. I consider you a wonderful friend as strange as that may seem to someone who “wasn’t there.” Bless you for thinking of me!

  2. I love what I just read, it’s so inspiring to me. I’m looking for wonderful, meaningful material such as this one to share with my son. He has revealed to me a horror story of his childhood and I had no idea of it, but I wanted to die of pain for him when I found out. I know that it wont be easy, but I want to give it my all to help him, because he can’t help himself, it’s too hard. Thank you so much for everithing Dear Terrie, I just found you on youtube, a video called “Can’t Be Dones” which was wonderful and so, I found this link, which I’m so thanful for, I’m looking forward to find more about you and help my son.

    • Glad that you might be able to get some useful info out of this. And I hope you are able to help your son. But also remember that it should just be assistance – it won’t “work” if you try to do it all for him. Guide him, support him, love him but encourage him to do the work. You are a very smart person and will be able to take all you’ve learned and put it to good use. Keep us posted please.

  3. Just found this all online… had no idea you were posting this or I would have already been reading. You truly are such an inspiring lady. I love reading your thoughts. You are so right about giving , I love giving and helping where I can and never think about it when I do. A few months back someone brought it to my attention that they loved my servants heart… I then stopped to realize that God leads me to do the things I love doing for others. Meeting you a few years back is what has led me to keep taking care of the Vol Staters at Mile 48…you have continuously give through others such as me… love you precious lady!!

    • Kim
      you are a wonderful inspiration and I’m not sure if I would have persevered to finish Vol State had I not met you. And then when you showed up last month at ARFTA I was stunned and so blessed. You made me feel so special and I needed it then. I can’t thank you for all you’ve done for me and everyone else you’ve touched! Thank you!