People tell me I’m gullible all the time. I’m fine with it. I prefer naive, it sounds more sophisticated in an ironic sort of way. But really I am... gullible that is. Yes, I’ve been taken advantage of a few times, but honestly, I would rather be taken advantage of than be constantly suspicious of the people I meet. That doesn’t mean I don’t ignore that “bad guy” vibe you get every once in a while, but I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. I feel odd saying this particularly because I prefer the company of dogs to people, but that’s what I try to do.
Whenever it’s safe (and I have some cash on hand), I donate to an individual, say someone standing on the corner with a cardboard sign saying whatever it will say. It makes me feel good to do it. I get something out of it. Now, some of the people at work will say things like “They probably aren’t homeless you know.” or “They’re just going to buy booze.”. To that I say “It’s none of my business what they spend it on or if truly homeless or not.” This is when I get “the look”. The look that says, “Man, you’re gullible.” or “A fool and their money are soon parted.”
But here’s the thing about giving. Your not really giving unless you truly see what you gave as not being yours anymore. Most people don’t do that. Typically they judge the ‘giftee’ in regards to how they spent or used what they gave. Here’s an example: Let’s say friend number one gave friend number two $100 because they knew friend #2 was short on their rent. There are two ways this scenario could go. Let’s say friend number two spends the gifted money on the rent. No judgement from friend number one, friendship solid, both feel good. Now, let’s say friend number two buys a trumpet instead of paying their rent. UH-OH! Judgement ensues. Of course friend number one will not be happy about this. And eventually, after stewing about it for a while, they will confront friend number two about it. Friendship now in jeopardy!
Now, I’ve never specifically been friend number one or friend number two, but in the past, I have judged people I have gifted to. It never ends well. It’s a resentment that you carry with you. And resentment is a heavy thing to carry. So one day, I decided I wouldn’t lug it around anymore (at least in regards to gifting things). I decided my new philosophy would be that gifting is the same thing as flushing it (whatever it is) down the toilet. If I could consider doing that with $100, then I could give it away with no problem. I haven’t ever flushed $100 down the toilet, mind you, but I have flushed a $5 bill just to see how it would make me feel. Although I did think about what that fiver would buy, after a couple of minutes, I didn’t miss it anymore. It was actually a good feeling.
That little exercise freed me of the need to control the things or money I wanted to give away. It freed me of a lot of attachment actually. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be wasteful or toss five dollar bills down the toilet everyday. It does mean that I can feel good about giving, which is kind of the point isn’t it?