Today is the last day of my second challenge on giving. This one has been more successful because I found an excellent way to hold myself accountable. Even though the second commitment was more specific, I still found it to be more about shifting my mindset than anything like creating tangible gifts for others.
I have found the self-confidence experiment difficult to replicate because my level of inspiration for and commitment to a single concept has never since been overwhelming enough to last me 3-4 weeks, but a successful alternative has been writing down my commitment every single hour. This had a similar effect of getting me to think constantly about the project.
At first I was definitely more stuck on the specific moments of giving (“what am I giving right now?”), but by the last week I really started to shift more to focusing on giving as an entire mindset (“how am I giving as a larger experience?”).
I have been socializing a lot during this time, especially the past weekend, which has given me a lot to reflect on and also made me want to focus more on the mindset. I had two nights over the weekend that involved 5-7 hours of socializing each! This brought my weaknesses back out because the evening would start with me going in with a consciously giving-oriented mindset, but after 5+ hours, I would fall back into a more habitual mindset – especially with the night winding down, myself being exhausted, people going home, and the difficulty of having a conversation (or stopping to reflect) in a nightclub!
By the end of the night, I would start to feel lonely and slightly depressive. Not only is this silly because a nightclub must be taken for what it is, but I was lost in thinking about what I was getting out of the night. So I went home and did some serious reflection over the past few days and now feel very confident that future outings will only be better. Each time will be an opportunity to worry less about myself and connect more deeply with others, to live more in the vision, the bigger picture, that giving is.
I started with specific moments of giving and at times forgot the vision. By keeping our eye on the vision, we can stay every moment in the giving. This challenge has accomplished exactly what I hoped it would, and like the rest, it is a work forever in progress.
And the social vision is about connecting with others, granting them the sense that they are every bit as real as we are. There is also connecting with ourselves and granting ourselves the confidence that we are as much gifts to the universe as others are.
One of the bigger picture things (gifts) I got out of this was just the act of noticing how life and the things I do are gifts. When you constantly ask, “How can I give?” sometimes you have to come up with answers you might never have thought of otherwise. It will be easier now to notice how what others give me really is that — a gift.
Check my challenge post to see documentation of all the ways I decided to give.