To be able do something for someone simply because we can and we want to, is a cause of so much joy and fulfilment! Here are some thoughts from me, and some friends, about how freeing it is to be able to give without expectation or obligation.
In this episode, let’s look into the spiritual, mental, emotional, and practical benefits of being generous without attachment.
Listen to the episode on the audio player below 👇🏽 (or on any podcast app that you like). If you prefer reading, then scroll down for the edited transcript. Enjoy! 🙂
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Transcript: How freeing it is to be generous without expectation or obligation
(gently edited for a better reading experience)
Before we start off this week’s episode, I wanted to tell you about my Manifest Your Most Fulfilling Life Workshop that’s coming up in Bangalore, on Sunday, August 13th, from 11 am to 6 pm.
It’s a full day of manifestation, meditation, self-love, creative flow, journaling, fun, joy…and of course, we’ll be filling our tummies with yummy vegan food.
It’s happening at the Bangalore Creative Circus in Yeshwantpur. So if you’re in Bangalore, definitely sign up and join me. I would love to have you in my workshop, meet you, get to know you, and do all these fun, creative activities with you.
If you’d like to know more about what I’m going to be covering on that day, then listen to episode number 111 (last week’s episode), and you’ll get to know more about it.
All right! On to this week’s episode now.
Hello, hello hello. Welcome back to The Feel Good Factor. I’m Susmitha Veganosaurus, and I’m so glad you could join me here today.
When we get right down to it, no one really owes anything to anyone in this world
These concepts of obligation, expectation, these are all illusions. Knowing this, why then do we do anything for others?
A couple of months ago, a very close friend of mine had a baby and she was born with a heart defect. It was quite a scary thing. They didn’t know this was going to happen throughout the pregnancy, so when the baby was born, they found out at that particular moment.
They were in a really difficult spot when it came to finances, and they needed to raise a lot of funds very, very quickly so that they could pay for the surgery for this little child. So a couple of us friends got together and helped these other friends create a fundraiser for their baby.
Now, we expected that some people who know them well in their networks, and probably some people who know us and trust us, would contribute to this, and it would take at least a week to ten days to actually raise the required funds.
But it was incredible the miracle that happened!
Within a day and a half, less than two days, the complete fund target was reached. We were all blown away!
Friends, colleagues, family members, yes, they contributed. But everyone went above and beyond, because people were spreading the word about this baby and the help that she needs. So much came through! They sent it to their friends and family, their circles. And absolute strangers just contributed to this little baby girl’s surgery.
For my friend, it was one thing to get this kind of financial support, all these funds from people, but even bigger was this feeling of being supported. On the first day they were feeling so lost, this couple. They were feeling so lost. They thought, “what’re we gonna do? This has happened to our baby now, we need to do the surgery, and who are we going to ask to support us through this?”
And then as soon as the fundraiser was launched, the support and loving messages, the money, all of it was just snowballing in! My friends felt so good. In a time like this when they’re going through such a difficult time, so much shock, to see all these people come through for them, and continue to show them all their love and support – sending blessings for the little girl, sending them love, positive energy…all of it, it meant a lot.
After seeing this, I was moved to talk about this whole concept of Giving
And I created a post on Instagram talking about why anyone does anything for others. When truly, you know, this obligation, expectations, those aren’t things you can depend on.
Generosity in any form – whether it’s kindness, saying kind words, giving money or material things, showing support, sending love, healing energy, caring for someone, helping people make connections/build connections, promoting each other when it comes to businesses (promoting a small business)…
Generosity in any form is not about, “what must I do?”, or, “what will I get in return?”
It’s about doing something for someone else just for the sake of doing it, because it brings you joy and fulfilment.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong at all with transactional exchanges. Transactions are an important part of life. They’re a big part of this world that we live in.
But the less transactional an act of generosity is, the more joyful and peaceful it is for us, for our own selves, the ones who’re being generous.
Isn’t it a lot simpler to just give, do, be generous, without having to wonder…
- “How much am I obligated to do?”
- “Will it be appreciated?”
- “When will it be reciprocated?”
- “Are they deserving of this?”
Without any of these thoughts, if we can just be generous, give without attachment, that’s the greatest form of freedom.
Giving without attachment is the greatest form of freedom
When we can just give and forget it, it frees up our mind to be generous elsewhere. Even to our own selves, right? We need to be generous to our own selves. And only when our mind is free without attachment, expectation, and the sense of obligation to others, can we fulfil this obligation to our own selves. Now that obligation exists.
Imagine what the world would be like if we’re all able to give whatever we can this way, without a second of analysis. Just give whenever we choose, to whomever we choose. Wouldn’t the world be a lot simpler? A simple world without obligation or expectation, fear or attachment to outcomes. Only a sense of peace, to love and to give freely.
When I posted this on Instagram, I had a lot of very meaningful responses from my Insta family
Rachitha, who’s handle on Insta is @mombychance, is a beautiful writer. She has a lot of very well written, thoughtful, meaningful posts about gentle and conscious parenting.
And her response to my post was, “Wow! I am in awe of this post. I could keep reading the carousels in loop. So well said. It is exploding with deep gyan. Makes you stop and think every word that you have said ❤️ so nicely written Susmitha 🙏”
I was just humbled to read that! Because, you know, it’s nice of course to be appreciated for your work, when people are complimenting you, saying that it means something to them, whatever you’ve written, it’s so good. It feels really wonderful. But when a really good author, somebody who writes really well, who expresses their feelings and emotions so well, tells you that your message made an impact on them, it’s very moving.
And of course, always with the universe…
When I created that post initially, for some reason I had this little doubt, self-doubt. Had I expressed it well? Does it even make sense or does it sound like a big ramble? And Rachita’s comment washed away that that little doubt, that little thing that I had at the back of my head. It just dissolved those doubts.
And then Lakshmi, who’s a very talented artist, she creates very beautiful work. Her handle is @hues_of_divinity (with underscores between each word). Also, she’s an amazing vegan chef. She makes these creative, but super simple dishes, especially food for children. Things that you can pack in lunch boxes and stuff. Her handle for that is, @cook_it_up_with_love (again with underscores between each word).
Lakshmi responded, “Omg I got goosebumps reading your slides… You are expounding karma yoga so well.❤️❤️” Again, for me, mind blown! Especially because she used the phrase “Karma Yoga”, it meant a lot.
I’ve been trying to consciously practice Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga
That is, showing love for divine energy through our devotion, as well as through our work.
Funnily, such deep philosophies…they’re so deep right? The ancient philosophies that we have from any religion, any culture. Sometimes they’re so deep, but also, they make life so much simpler. They’re actually quite simple, and they make life simpler if you just follow them.
So because of this heartwarming response that I got from these people (and a few others) on that first post about giving without attachment, I wanted to go into it a little deeper. So I created another post about giving without attachment, but a practical perspective.
We have to live in this transactional world, but we have to give without attachment. Why should we be doing that?
Here are some emotions, some thoughts or feelings, which most of us are familiar with:
- “I didn’t feel comfortable doing it, but I felt obligated to commit. Now, it’s irritating me!”
- “They don’t plan properly and screw up, and I’m the one who’s forced to help them out of the mess each time.”
- “I give them so much, and now they’re just squandering it. Grr”
- “It doesn’t align with my values or creative style completely. But if I refuse to promote it, they’ll feel bad. I feel so put on the spot!”
- “When I can go out of my way for them, they should also go out of their way for me, no?”
Keeping track, calculating, having expectations, feeling forced to act out of obligation…it can all get so bloody tiresome, right? But these situations are bound to arise in the culture of transactional generosity that we all follow.
Give and take
A pattern that’s become so much of a norm that, giving on our own terms, forgetting about it, and moving forward, has become almost an alien concept.
So based on that first post, it was clear that many people agreed, spiritually speaking, unattached giving is a beautiful way to live. But yeah, let’s delve a little deeper into the practical aspects of this.
We might not always realise this, but spiritual principles have very practical applications also in our day to day lives. Whether you have a certain belief in divine energy of any kind, if your religious, non-religious, it doesn’t even matter. Just studying these principles of spirituality, you know, they improve the quality of our own lives when we apply them practically into our day to day living.
So, let’s go into this…
Giving without attachment, a practical perspective
First of all, when you have no attachment, you have no expectation. And if you don’t have an expectation, then you have no obligation also.
You’re not expecting something from someone, you also don’t feel obligated to do something for someone. You’re doing it because you want to, not because you have to.
Being generous without attachment is great for aligning with love, surrendering, being in divine flow, shining light, and all that. But also, it helps in these distinctly practical ways.
1. Stronger Boundaries
As we all learn to give freely on our own terms, we also naturally learn how to say “no” with love, when we must be saying no with love.
2. Better Quality Serving
When you don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable, you’re able to help more authentically. And the serves everybody better, right? You do it in your way.
3. No Saviour Complex
This is an important one. With joyful, non-transactional generosity, when you’re practising that regularly, then you’re able to guiltlessly allow people to take responsibility for their own decisions, without feeling any need to go out of your way to save them. Who are you to save them? You don’t have to have a saviour complex.
4. No Resentment
When you’re generous with your time, energy, money, kindness, etc, completely by your own choice, with zero attachment to the outcome, how is there any question of resentment at all? You don’t have an expectation, so there’s no resentment because you’re doing it on your own terms.
You’re not going out of your way, you’re not attached to the outcome. So there’s nothing to resent, no matter what that person who’s the receiver of your generosity, no matter what they do or where they take it.
5. Knowing How To Ask And Receive, Without Putting Someone On The Spot
Another very, very important one. When you know the value of being able to give freely and comfortably without expectation or attachment, you become good at asking also without hesitation when you need help. And you’ll do it in such a way that the other person doesn’t feel obligated or guilty.
Because, when you’re giving, you know how to give without feeling obligation. So then you won’t put the other person on the spot, you won’t make them feel like they’re obligated or guilty.
It’s a style of communication that you’ll very naturally pick up. It’s a very, very beautiful skill to develop, knowing how to ask and receive without putting somebody else on the spot.
I think we should all work towards creating a healthy ecosystem of joyful generosity
This post also had some beautiful responses from a few friends of mine. When I posted these practical tips to joyful generosity, I asked my Insta family to share their stories and their thoughts on the matter, so that I could include them in this podcast episode.
Again, Lakshmi (Hues of Divinity and Cook It Up With Love), shared, “Giving away time, energy or money to someone and not expecting it to come back from the same or other people is actually quite liberating. Also, to expect that a person behaves in a certain way that pleases us, just because we chose to give them something, is quite unfair.”
Two very, very valid points, no? To this I replied, “Yeah, and realising that expecting the people we give to behave a certain way isn’t fair, makes us understand that we also aren’t obligated to behave a certain way when we’re on the receiving end.”
Then my other friend Ekta who runs @poornatvam on Instagram…She’s a yoga teacher and she writes some beautiful, contemplative posts about all kinds of very meaningful, spiritual, yogic things. How to apply them and connect them back to day to day living.
I actually keep telling this girl, “stop leaving all your posts only on Instagram! It’s not getting enough attention there. It needs to be out on a blog.” So I keep bugging this lady to create a blog and put up all her meaningful, thoughtful posts onto the blog.
Anyway, her response was, “Recently I was reflecting on the generous amount of non transactional giving I have received. And I couldn’t even return it in equal or enough. Something made me realize I give elsewhere if not where I received from. And in this way we keep the kindness flowing.
It’s more about the flow of energy than exactly whom it flows between
My insight blew my mind in that moment. 😂 I see from a higher level life has always been happening that way. Our narrow vision doesn’t let us notice it at times.”
Beautiful words, huh?
So yeah, these were the very meaningful responses, the interactions that I’ve had with my Insta family, because I spoke about giving.
No matter how deep we’ve gone in this episode, there’s still so much more to say about giving. About giving generously, joyfully, without any expectation or attachment.
And also receiving the flow of generosity towards us without feeling any kind of obligation
If you have thoughts to share about generosity, if you have your stories to share, then I would love to hear them. Write in to me.
And as always, I want to tell you about my free newsletter, The Feel Good Tribe. I share a lot of contemplative stories, thoughts, and talks there. Plus some practical tips for business, veganism, life, etc.
I also talk about books that I’m reading right now, courses that I’m releasing, any other interesting articles or videos that I come across. If you’re not there yet, come and sign up. I’d love to see you in The Feel Good Tribe.
All right. That’s it for today. Talk to you again next week.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Feel Good Factor. I’m Susmitha Veganosaurus, and I’ll talk to you again very soon. Byeeee!
I use Otter for all my transcriptions, and it’s awesome! Try it out.
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