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Daring Greatly: Adventures in Giving and Receiving

November 22, 2013


The past two weeks has again seen an outpouring of generosity from the British public. Over £50 Million and rising has been given to the DEC for the Typhoon Haiyan appeal and Children in Need Raised over £31 Million on the night alone, with the total set to rise way above that figure. On top of that many people gave up their time to bolster the fundraising effort for either or both of these causes.

There is no doubt that on this evidence that as a Nation we seem to be quite generous.

And yet, as a Nation we also find ourselves in increasing financial turmoil and challenge. The rising cost of living, a debate about a living wage and a significant increase in our personal household debt.

Earlier this year as a family we took part in a challenge called Live Below the Line. We lived on £1 each per day for our food for 5 days. We were raising money for Tearfund and were encouraged by many friends and family sponsoring us. The real eye opening experience for us as a family of 4 was just how much of a reality this was for many families every single day rather than just for 5 days. A point brought home by the brilliant blog of Jack Monroe. For those 5 days we acted in solidarity, learnt a lot and raised some money, but we had the luxury of being able to return to what we were more used to again.

How much of our giving, whether it’s financial or otherwise, is done because we really love to do it or want to do it out of a genuinely good motivation? Do we, if we are honest, sometimes give out of guilt, out of compulsion or from pressure rather than it really being the thing we desire to do? Is there a danger that we can give without noticing it or give in a way that is not really going to be that costly?

These questions really challenge me because I know in all honesty that some of my giving is definitely done more out of duty and habit rather than from a place of deep love and it being or feeling sacrificial.

The Author and researcher Brene Brown (check out her amazing TED talks ) has written a great booked called Daring Greatly. The book is the practical outworking of her research on vulnerability. She says that “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change” and that Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage”

Could being more vulnerable mean being more daring, being more generous?

Our generosity does not, arguably should not, be just about the money we give. Generosity seems to be more about an attitude of our heart or how we orientate our time and desires. As well as giving our money we may be able to consider giving time, sharing the gifts and skills we have with others, opening up our homes and practising hospitality.

As well as being more open to give, I think we also need to be more open to receive the generosity and giving of others, to be willing to be more vulnerable and allow more of our lives and ways we live to be more shared and communal. Even if we are more naturally introverted and value our personal and private space.

When it comes to giving and receiving have we played it too safe? Do we need to reimagine how we might view and make use of our money, time and possessions? Is this what it might mean to Dare Greatly?


One Comment leave one →
  1. December 16, 2013 4:06 pm

    Reblogged this on matt's musings .

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