I was watching an interview on YouTube of a self-made millionaire and his mention of the idiom “Charity begins at home” struck like a far reaching net, stretching to every corner of my mind.
Even though I’ve heard this before and he said it almost in passing, it stuck out like a sore thumb to me and felt like a new concept permeating through every one of my brain cells. I could feel myself growing new dendrites!
You see, I’ve only just recently come to the realisation that most if not all of my life has been based on a lot of feelings of guilt and thoughts of unworthiness. It’s either, no matter what I do, I’m wrong or someone else is more deserving than me.
If ever I even dare to think I deserve something let alone think I deserve it more than someone else then I should be ashamed. This is what I was made to feel when I was young.
If I have something others don’t have (whether or not I worked my ass off for it or it was given specifically to me as a gift) then I should feel guilty about it. To alleviate this guilt, I should promptly give it to the other person who didn’t get it. Apparently this is called “sharing”. Any other act would be one of selfishness and for that, I should also be ashamed.
For things like being born in a particular country vs another, well, this is a guilt I’ll never be able to alleviate by giving things away and therefore must be carried for life, a burden that includes having a better life than others that I did nothing to deserve. If I don’t feel guilty about having something I didn’t deserve or do anything to deserve then I’m ungrateful and selfish.
Anyone else know what I’m talking about? No? And you think you have issues! Yes, I was reminded of this every day just to make sure I didn’t forget.
In fact, having thought about it, the only thing I wasn’t ever made to feel guilty about is giving to charity or giving away all my belongings. Actually, scratch that…. I’d get in trouble for that too. “WHY did you give that away? It was so expensive!!”
I was taught that nothing (whether gifted or bought for me) actually belonged to me because I didn’t pay for it with my own money and therefore, if I gave those things away, then I was exercising rights I didn’t have.
Then later in life I learned that even things I paid for with my own money didn’t belong to me, it was for everyone else. What was it called again? Oh, that’s right, “sharing”.
Giving to charity and “sharing”. There should be no resentment around this because “it is better to give than to receive.”
Now I realise, giving away everything I worked for is just demotivation for me to work at all. Why bother working when everything I do benefits everyone else but me? What a ridiculous way to live life.
The definition for Charity needs to change to “Giving to those who are in need, which includes myself.”
Hence, charity begins at home. Just like the metaphor for putting your emergency air mask on before helping others with theirs, why would you give money away to others who have none when you are thousands of dollars in debt? The beggar on the street would be richer than you, why would you be helping them with their life when you can’t even sort out your own?
How many of us give to a charity or loan other people money or pay for other people’s meals while we sit there with a tonne of our own debts to pay?
Is it because you believe that “It is better to give than to receive”? In my opinion, this definition needs to change to: “It is better to be the one in a position to be able to give than to be in the position of the one who can only receive.”
Yes. Charity begins at home.
Being able to do things for yourself financially, physically, emotionally, mentally is not selfish or thinking you’re more deserving. Nobody is more deserving of air than others but putting on that emergency air mask is being responsible for your own life.
Charity begins at home means that to be responsible for others, you must first be responsible for your life. Not just parts of it, all of it.