Giving Here and There

Over the past few weeks, there have been so many deserving causes that have been in the headlines. There was the cyclone which devastated Vanuatu. Then followed the Nepalese earthquakes. There is the constant worldwide dilemma of refugees whether it be in our waters or the journey from North Africa to Europe. All of them are good causes and are worthy of supporting.

Each day I receive about three phone calls from charities asking for donations. My letterbox is filled with similar requests. My daughter in law calls it charity fatigue. I can’t say ‘yes’ to everyone, but when I don’t donate I feel guilty. So how do I keep helping people and not harden my heart due to the constancy of request?

My wife and I have been feeling the pressure of this for a few years. What we have decided to do is to choose six charities that we believe in and feel ethically aligned with. We make substantial gifts to them year in, year out. We have our charities and we stick with them.

The other part of giving is the gift of time. I am happy to spend time on community projects that I think are valuable and that bring a sense of meaning to my life. So yes, I give money and time to others.

But where I feel that I am miserly is what I give to myself. Recently, I have been re-defining what success means. As a younger man, I thought success meant money, possessions, status, image and popularity. Now, I have chosen to give to myself some things that matter. It’s not about being selfish, it’s about being self-loving. I am a more balanced, peaceful, thoughtful, kind and engaged person when I fill my own fuel tank.

I want success and I deserve success. I give myself the gifts of success. I give to myself the gift of time – time with those I love, time to be alone, time to be still, time to indulge my hobbies, time to be me. I give myself the gift of lifestyle as well as the gift of meaningful work. I give myself the gift of loving and being loved. I give myself the gift of friendships, loyalty and relationships. The list goes on.

I cannot give fully, freely and lovingly to others, if I don’t count myself worthy of the same. Yes, it feels good to give to others, but see how it feels to give to yourself without guilt. I give OF myself, and TO myself.

‘You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.’ Buddha

It’s a wonderful life!

Brian Fitzpatrick


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