We tend to think that people divide into two camps – the givers and the takers – and each camp sees the other as wrong in some way. The givers think that the takers are selfish, the takers think that the givers are stupid! So I like the prompt I received from a friend to consider being both a giver and a taker!
It makes so much more sense to be both. There is a balance in it that is healthy and caters for our differing emotional needs – to be kind and to look after ourselves.
And what was the prompt? Well, we were talking about global warming – as you do! – and what we did and could do about playing our part in making a positive difference. We got on to recycling, and I said that it offended me to throw things away that were perfectly useable, but that no charities wanted, such as electrical goods. Gwynne then told me about the freecycle organisation, and gave me the website address. What a brilliant idea! There are branches in every area, so you can ‘go local’, and you advertise there anything you want to get rid of, and look for things you want. The rules are simple – basically, everything is free!
I love the idea of someone finding my throwaway useful, and me finding replacements for free. And over time it balances itself out – you can get what you want from someone and give someone else what you don’t want, and the circle goes around.
As a principle for life, this one appeals to me generally. It is always worth giving to someone, because someone else will give to you at some point, and the person you gave to will give to another – it all goes around. I like to think that I do live by this in a general sense – and now I have found another way of doing the same thing and contributing to reducing global warming at the same time – brilliant!
At a time when we spend so much money on ‘stuff’, much of which is just not really necessary or even desired, it feels like a useful reminder that we can take a different approach…