The more I work with clients, the more I am aware of one of the greatest hopes we have: That our hurts will not have been in vain, that there is some way to make it matter. I know we often look to volunteering with organizations, offering our time and energy to support a particular cause, or serving in some other way that contributes to society. This practice is of great value to both the giver and the receiver. Yet what often goes unnoticed are the opportunities to serve those who are in our immediate circle ... the ones we are closest to, the ones who put up with us during those years of struggle, the ones who cross our path every day.
Often what inhibits and prevents us from giving or sharing freely with others is a kind of stinginess. This is not the stinginess that makes you give a $1 tip when you know you really should give more. It’s not the kind of Ebenezer Scrooge stinginess that causes you to ignore the circumstances of others. Rather, it is a type of stinginess born out of a need to hide and protect ourselves and to preserve a sense of control. Where does this type of stinginess come from in the first place, how does it most often show up, and how can we break free of it?