Lately I have been interested in the nature of giving: what I give, and more importantly, how. My aim is to give with integrity. To me this is about giving without a hidden agenda, whether it is time, energy, help, money, gifts, supportive words, a listening ear, or something else entirely. When I choose to give, I want to do so freely, without expecting anything back that others have not agreed to.
Sometimes we reach out to people hoping they will return the action in some way. This is fine if there is a clear, mutual agreement. But if there is not, we may find ourselves feeling resentful, or resorting to indirect or coercive tactics to try to get what we want. This is not fair to the people to whom we are giving, and it’s no fun for anyone. It is important to be aware of our true motives when we give. We might think our intentions are pure, but if we dig deeper, discover that we feel other people owe us something—even if they never explicitly agreed to it. Read more…
My dear friend in Beijing, Enoch, just posted a lovely blog inspired by our friendship. After taking several weeks to reply to a note I had sent her, Enoch wrote me an email of apology. From my perspective, no apology was needed. I messaged her back with the assurance that I’m a “no guilt, no pressure” friend…and that I would be fine even if she did not get back to me at all. I want her to make the choices that are best for her, not to worry about taking care of me. My friends can come and go as they like!
This simple exchange opened a very cool dialogue between Enoch and me, and I appreciate her reflections, along with the thoughtful comments to her post.
Click Here to read Enoch's blog, if you like.
Saturday night was gorgeous in Vienna: crisp, cool, bustling. My husband, Dan, and I meandered through narrow streets and alleys, finally popping into a cozy café. Midway through a basket of bread, Dan met my gaze and posed a random question. “Annie,” he said, “what are your three biggest needs in our relationship?” I was touched that he asked, and also a little surprised. After all, we’re edging toward six years together. He could easily assume he knows me so intimately that such questions are no longer necessary.
Mulling it over, I realized that my needs—and the ways in which they are met—have shifted with time, growth, and countless transitions. Rambling a bit as I caught up with my thoughts, I responded honestly, then turned the question on Dan. A dynamic conversation ensued, broad themes filtering into practical details. How, specifically, can we make life sweeter for each other? Read more…
Some of the old clichés about love are so true. Love conquers all. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. And yes, Breakin’ up is hard to do.
Recently I spent time with a friend who is going through a painful breakup. My heart ached as I witnessed the unraveling of her hopes and dreams for the relationship. She had entered the void. Read more…