Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Selfish or Selfless?

On the Happiness Project blog, Gretchen Rubin writes about "Why it can be selfless to be selfish, or, how you can be generous by TAKING." She points out that "The pleasure of giving ... [requires that] someone must accept your gift. ... sometimes, you must be the selfish one, asking and accepting."

Yes! That is the essence of true community. Sometimes, we are the givers, and sometimes the receivers. It works best when we don't keep a tally, either. We give when giving is required; and we receive when we are in need, or when the other needs to give. It can be hard. We are taught from a young age that it is rude to take, and blessed to give.

Does it help to know that the giver is receiving pleasure in the giving? Can we receive it graciously without demurral? Why is it so hard to say "thank you", to accept the gift, to not say "oh, you shouldn't have!", to not be already plotting our return gift?

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