The need to take care of the most needy is something that has very deep roots in us. The reason why doing good make the giver as well as the recipient feel good, is indeed mysterious and even incomprehensible to the capitalist logic. In fact, in exchange of our money or our time, usually we expect a price. But even if donating money is important, much more beneficial, although more difficult, is to give something of ourselves, our time, our ideas and energy.
For those who have had the audacity to continue reading without being discouraged by such a high goal, it is easy to imagine how all of this is in relation to people close to us; the bum under the house, of which we don’t even know the name, the neighbor’s son who has lost his job. It could be also our mother or our hated colleague. It is also easy to imagine the inner objections we have in front of such ideas: the homeless can be also dangerous and what will my neighbors think about me?
These objections could be right, but they make us stay inside our fence. In fact, giving freely something of himself to someone is tiring, even exhausting, but it is the way to go out of the fence. Moreover, it could be the way to escape from the logic of expectation that makes us so unhappy. But there’s more.
Broadening our horizons allows us to forget for a moment our problems and our labors. If I put the other in the middle, I place what hurts me in the background. It is a kind of a “little vacation from themselves”; not bad considering that sometimes we are the worst enemies of ourselves!
Donating means finally being able to mirror in the needy’s eyes and to understand myself better. Have you ever tried to ask the name to those who live on the street? They are almost always happy with this small gesture that restores their identity often lost. Think how could be happy your neighbor’s son who finds in front of the door the suit of his favorite team. How will the eyes of your mother become, even if only for a day, he could see his family re-united, though not united? I can give a name to those people that have lost it, a gift to those who can not afford it. I can give to my mother (and myself) a day without family contrasts, biting my tongue to not respond to provocations.
I can also forgive those people who really are not able to be different from what I want by them. Forgiving is indeed the greatest gift and it is the hardest to donate, although the benefits are certain. Just try and see! (Article published in the Journal of ANAP)
Dr. Cingolani’s Office is in Rome, near San Peter’s Church. If you want to contact her, you can write to this address: email@example.com