Jean M. DiGiovanna

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Giving Unconditionally

Posted on Jul 26, 2016

By Jean Marie DiGiovanna

When was the last time you gave of your time, with no strings attached? For some, it may be recently, but for many of us, it may have been a while ago. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives juggling and balancing what we are up to that it’s difficult to think of giving our time to someone else, without wondering “what’s in it for us”. The fact is, during those times is the very reason to give. In the midst of our own “craziness”, what often brings us back to our own core is when we focus on helping or serving another, unconditionally.

Giving of our money or material items to others in need can make a profound difference. There is something even deeper available to us when we give of our time. There is an experience between two (or more) individuals that is unspoken, that is deeply gratifying and deeply rewarding.

What is it to give of your time unconditionally; to give for the sake of giving? It is not driven from a desire to look good, get something in return or to be recognized and acknowledged. It comes from a true desire from the bottom of your heart to want to be there for another. It comes from the recognition that the act of giving, itself, is the reward. It is an honor to give of your time to someone else. That experience is priceless and can last a lifetime.

Giving unconditionally could be helping out a friend in need when her car breaks down to serving a meal once a week at a homeless shelter. It could be providing an ear to listen to when your spouse has a bad day to spending time with an aging parent. Regardless of how big or small the gesture or how long the time you give, when you are fully present, not thinking about the past or the future, and expecting nothing in return, you are truly giving unconditionally.

Giving to another reminds us of our own humanity, of how fragile, vulnerable and fearful we can be ourselves and how loving, generous and caring we can be to another. When you feel your life begin to spiral, when balance is hard to come by, think about a time when someone has given to you unconditionally and do that for another. It could be for a minute, an hour or an afternoon. When you stop to give unconditionally, you may be beautifully surprised to witness the effect it has on you and how quickly your life feels back in balance.

Monthly Workout

Take on the following questions and process below for this month’s workout:

  1. Think of the last time you gave of your time unconditionally. What did it require in you to do that?  What was the affect it had on you?  On the other?
  2. Who in your life could use some help with something, an ear to listen, or simply would love your company?  Think of your family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, those in your community.  Pick one person you would like to help out, from the bottom of your heart, even if just for an hour.
  3. What organizations or causes do you strongly believe in or feel most frustrated about.  Or, those you feel that are just not doing enough.  What is one small thing you could do to help them out?  How could you give of your time?
  4. Looking at the results from questions 2 & 3 above, commit to one action you will take to give of your time unconditionally.
  5. Notice as you are giving where your thoughts are.  Are they present to the person you are with? Are you thinking about the past? Or worrying, wondering or speculating the future?  If you are in the past or future, stop yourself in the moment and refocus your attention on the person you are with.
  6. Notice what you experience when you give unconditionally, when you are fully present for the sake of giving.  What new insight do you now have about giving of yourself?
  7. When someone unconditionally gives to you of their time, remember how that feels and pass that on.

Let me know what transpires out of this exercise.  I look forward to hearing from you.


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