Who is he? Never mind that. I have been thinking about that loosely paraphrased quote for the past day, so much I wanted to explore it here, and hear any thoughts that you have (feel free to comment).
I agree that we can change the things some things about ourselves when we focus on giving to others, but this statement is one that can EASILY be misconstrued. First of all, if the giving is of money, it might not make as much of a personal impact to giver. While I don’t want to say that people GIVE their money away for lots of pointless things…well, they do. I can think of lots of habits that put me in the mind of people throwing away their money, drinking in bars being one of them. (Aside: you wanna pay more than double markup when you can make that same drink at home, hear the music YOU want to hear when you want to hear it, and not have to worry about arriving alive at the end of the night?!) I will say that giving money to a cause that has some kind of personal significance can be fulfilling, but I think that pales in comparison to the feeling you get when you give of yourself.
The most relatable example might be the example of children. In an ideal world, both mother and father will focus equal amounts of effort in to giving of their time, their knowledge, and their love to baby. In real life, that relationship, just like many other relationships, will have times where one parent will be more able to give of his or herself than the other. Still, despite the personal costs, I think most parents would agree that the giving of themselves to their children is the most important giving they can ever do. I think most parents would also agree that they find themselves changing in ways they might have never imagined. Being a (good) parent is a lesson in selflessness. Sometimes you hold back your first comment to spare your child’s feelings. It might mean staying in when you really feel like going out. It might mean watching the same movie OVER and OVER and OVER, until you are quoting the lines without thinking about it. That growth likely translates to the relationships you have with other people. You might find yourself a little willing to compromise, a little more able to hold your tongue, and a little more able to keep yourself together at times you don’t feel like it.
For those of us without children, our might be to our time to causes, or through our work, or in our relationships. At work, we might strive to give 100% everyday. That might mean pushing ourselves to do our best even when we don’t feel like it. Like those times when we are working with people who try our last nerves, who’d we’d like to tell where they can go, the quickest way to get there, and what they can wear while they are on their way there. Or those situations when you are talking to someone and it crosses your mind that the best thing for both of you would be for you not to even think about saying what it is you’d REALLY like to for fear you might not be able to hold those words back. Maybe you are volunteering at a shelter and the way the people you are working with are talking to you is grating your nerves. The ability to NOT give into those knee jerk reactions is some of the best giving we can do, and in return, we grow as individuals.