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  • Gladys Agwai

Does Your Willingness to Give Have a Second Agenda?



“Caregiving has no second agendas or hidden motives. The care is given for the love and joy of giving without expectation,no strings attached.”-Gary Zukav


It is human nature to pursue your self-interests to maximize your pleasure and minimize your pain. Your unconscious or conscious intention of self-interest is at the forefront regarding why you decide to share, help, or give. You go to work because you want to get paid so you can buy the things you want. You go to school so you can get a better job someday and earn more money to buy the things you want. You desire an education for your children to reflect positively upon you. Donating to a cause creates an image as a generous person improving your reputation or giving you a feeling of well-being. This means all motives are selfish motives. How often do you feel the need to help another woman expressing distress through crying? You become distressed (shocked, alarmed, worried, or fearful) and rush over, throw your arms around her and tell her it will be alright. Did you help to reduce your own anxiety and distress? There is even a scientific name for it called psychological egoism.


Being selfish describes your attitude, intention, or action that serves your interest at the expense of or without consequences to others. Too often, you make decisions and choices in your life to ensure you are not perceived to be selfish. Sometimes selfishness comes disguised as generosity. It is sneaky and hard to question. Are you a selfish giver? Below are three ways to check:


1. Attention Seeker: Are you offended when your offer of help is refused? When your help is accepted, do you complain? You indiscriminately act without regard for yourself. You seek to be reassured of your value demanding attention from others to avoid feeling the void in your life.

2. People Pleaser: Are you always giving never allowing the other person to reciprocate? Does this give you a feeling of superiority over the other person? Is your self-worth tied to your giving? Are you buying love, acceptance, or belonging?

3. Score Keeper: Do you fear others will take advantage of you? Do you have a mindset of scarcity limiting your giving until they give more?


With generosity you should expect no definitive return of your generosity. It is not a trade where you give on terms that benefit you. Unfortunately, the worst form of self interest comes disguised as generosity. When giving is more about you than it is the other person, it is selfish. No matter how generous the gift, if your intention is for the other person to reciprocate, reconsider sharing the gift. It is critical to be mindful of your intentions and motive before giving. You should not feel pressured to give, expect anything in return for giving, get angry or sad when not reciprocated, or seek to be valued.


However, what you have is of no use if you do not share it with others. The more you share the more they desire or learn to share. And as they share, the more they desire to share. That is why the choice to share without second agendas is important to your spiritual and overall growth. As you live, you will continually be given the opportunity to discover and cultivate your fears to accelerate your growth process. A new understanding of sharing and giving that is fundamental to your growth must be that love is the giver and the receiver. Your only agenda must be to live with meaning, purpose, and joy.


“Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting.”-Brian Tracy


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