On Being Better and Braver at Giving

I’ve always wondered why people can be so quick to judge when you visibly give more care to a person than you get. It’s like they see it as a transaction where you’re doing bad business, like human relationships were a barter system of sorts. Why? It’s absurd. (Digressing for a bit: inhumanity is starting to become absurdly human, or humanely absurd. Am I the only one who is noticing this? I kind of hope I am, actually.)

Why is it foolish or flirtatious to honestly and openly care about someone and be excited to be in their company? Sure, others might cast shade on such situations because they don’t want to see you get hurt. But really, the only significant pain will occur when your motives are based on personal gain, because then you’d feel cheated for what you gave. However, as with all genuine acts of kindness, if you simply wanted to spread some light and watch the flowers grow, you wouldn’t ask them to offer you their pretty petals in the process. That would be counterproductive. I suppose the only sadness possible here would be if, in your concern and attempts to spread light, you somehow caused damage.

But that’s beyond the point, because in my experience, people don’t see that essential and honest part of things. The way they look down on people who wear their hearts on their sleeves isn’t a matter of emotional or personal wellness, but a matter of conduct and propriety. It’s as if being willing to give your heart for free (which, really, is how things should be, I mean that’s kind of like, what Jesus would do, if you had to ask yourself what would Jesus do, the answer would always essentially be give free love, man. Peace be with y’all.) — Anyway, it’s as if being willing to give your heart for free warrants as much head shaking and scoffing as not wearing an inner shirt under a sheer top and exposing some tacky bra, or something, or putting your feet up at the dinner table. It’s perceived as foolish, misinformed, “have they no shame?”

To that I say: No. I have no shame brought about by conceit. I don’t think I’m misinformed when I’m acting on an objective that is true and meant. So be it if I’m a fool for taking that “risk,” though I think that nothing would make me feel more foolish than regret, especially regret catalyzed by pride or vanity.

I mean, if we hide our real intentions, how can we expect the world to be allowed to give us what we intend?

And seriously, what is it with this seemingly inescapable thinking of good will as a commodity?

Actually, let me digress. I’m really writing this to save myself from my own judgments more than anyone else’s. I may be writing to put some hurt in the proper context, and to remind myself that this is what I believe in and this is what I want to practice until it becomes easier and more natural for me. Well, it already sort of is, but I’m no saint. I get selfish, I get insecure and I get judgmental of my motives based on what I feel “society” would think of them. My thoughts become too much of my own or too much of others’. You know, the things our warning labels would read, if we had them. Bad habits of being human.

When you do nice things to others and you are unappreciated, you try (so hard, sometimes) to be a good person and not get hurt, or at least forgive yourself for hurting and keep it as a feeling rather than a reason or judgment. You can’t help it sometimes, though. You’ve accepted that humans are jerks because life is tough, but especially when you care about them, it really doesn’t make it hurt any less even though you’ve truly forgiven them anyway. It doesn’t make it easier to tell yourself you’re not stupidly throwing yourself around, and that it shouldn’t pick at your pride even if others thought you were throwing yourself around.

I’d rather be weak in that sense than be weak by hiding my heart from the scary world with the scary people and all their dark thoughts and cold blood. I couldn’t be numb even if I tried anyway, and I refuse to stop trying to show affection and do good. If that’s going to be how I roll, however, I’m going to have to learn to get hurt better. After all, I do find it beautiful how “the ocean comes back to kiss the shore no matter how many times it is sent away.”

I’m going to have to be like that ocean: somewhere in its greater depths carrying shipwrecks, oil spills, garbage, dark and unexplored chasms, bones of those we never found… But in that moment, just pure, clear water from the same part of the ocean that still sees the light of the sun and the stars. Returning to greet the land as simple and true as nature should be. Coming back to say “hello” to the land with whom it shares ages of painful history, but each time forgiven, and each “hello” hopefully newer, better and kinder.

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