Those who give have all things; those who withhold have nothing.

lakshmi1940sLakshmi

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“Those who give have all things; those who withhold have nothing.” – Hindu proverb

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Do you value generosity?

Do you consider yourself to be generous?

Do you see yourself as being a giver rather than a taker?

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My mother has always seen herself as being generous. She has often used the term ‘generous to a fault’ to describe herself… but the fault is never hers that she generously gives to others.

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She also has always seen herself as being a martyr and a saint… largely due to being generous to a fault. She gives and gives and gives too much… too much is never enough… others are never grateful enough or grateful at all.

Others not being grateful has been a fault of theirs which she generously complains about all the time.

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I used to accept and believe this truth of hers, mostly because she repeated it like a mantra all the time. Generously filling my ears with her talk, her endless talk…

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Did she ever walk instead of talking?

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Her talking was her walk… and she traveled far with it.

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Yet she could also walk and talk at the same time, she was extremely talented like that… although she often fell off of her shoes as they were usually not the sort of shoes designed for walking, they were mostly of the sort designed to be a talking point. She did love to talk about her shoes…

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One day, while walking and talking, strolling along a small and fashionable street, the glittering displays in a shop window stopped her in her tracks. The treasures glinting under the halogen lights made her feet and her mouth go silent for a split millisecond.

Then the walking and talking resumed.

Into the shop she led me.

I felt my entire being groan. Here we go… a different kind of torture is about to take over from the previous torture.

Inside the lights made the place warm with their glow. It was an Indian Summer…

The landscape was glistening gold, dappled with fiery rubies, deep sapphires and verdant emeralds.

Not real ones…fantasy ones which are always more beautiful than the real ones.

My mother drooled with dignity over each cabinet filled to the brim with costume jewellery… of the very affordable kind, the kind which you buy generously in bulk.

She took a generous amount of time to choose what she wanted for herself, once five pairs of ornate, enameled earrings were chosen, she turned to me… her shadow waiting for the torture to be over.

“You should buy a pair…”

It was not an offer, it was an order. If I did not buy a pair, I would suffer yet another different kind of torture. I had learned from experience that when she wanted me to do something, especially when she phrased it as a generous offer, I had better give her what she wanted or I would pay for it with the sort of talk that went on even longer than her usual talk.

Lectures were another one of her great talents. But of course for her they were not lectures but very generous, rare pearls of wisdom being thrown at a swine hoping to educate and elucidate the swine and possibly transform it into something more acceptable.

So, I dutifully chose a pair, a pair of which she generously approved, and bought them.

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Shortly afterwards she generously took me out to dinner. I was expected to wear the earrings which she generously ordered me to buy. So, I did to demonstrate my gratitude, knowing that my gratitude would not been seen as ever being enough, but we give all we can and then give more… in the hope, the hopeless hope, that a bottomless pit of greed and need will eventually be filled, satisfied… but it never will, for it does not will to such a will.

Throughout the evening these earrings took over the conversation and became the main point of talking.

By the end of the dinner I had been generously informed that the earrings were too beautiful, too elegant, too much for me, too large even for my big ears, too long for my short neck, too old for my too young age (although I was a teenager at the time, in her eyes I was permanently six years old). The worst crime of my wearing of the earrings was that too many other diners had been looking at them admiringly.

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I wore the earrings on a couple of other occasions. The results were the same, yet worse as the previous results were added to the subsequent ones and soon a generous sum would be reached – a sum of all fears.

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I eventually knew what had to be done. This had been done before. This would be done again.

I gave my mother the earrings. She refused, she couldn’t possibly accept such a gift… then she generously accepted the gift.

I was very grateful… yet not grateful enough, one could never be grateful enough towards someone who was generous to a fault.

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I saw the earrings again, once very briefly… they were too large for her shell-like ears, to heavy for such delicate lobes, too short for her swan-like neck, and really rather gaudy and gauche for someone as elegant as her, which is why she had not bought them, would never have bought them, in the first place and only had them because I gave them to her. Refusing my gift would have been rude, and she was always generous to a fault where being well-mannered, polite, was concerned. But they were beautiful, that she generously gave them and she would generously keep them in her jewellery box buried under all the other treasures which she kept therein.

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*Daily Prompt – Ready, Set, Done

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12 thoughts on “Those who give have all things; those who withhold have nothing.

  1. So well written!! I love the story, made me chuckle but sad at the same time. I remember “gifts” from my ex that I was never grateful enough for, he once gave me my own ring (I had been given the ring as a teenager from my parents and it had “disappeared” from my jewelry box, with the diamond missing, so I was given my old ring with just the setting and told I would have to buy the stone myself. Or he would “give” me something and then invoice me for them later, after a couple of years when ever he wanted to give me a gift i would ask, “Is this a gift or are you going to invoice me for it later? because I can’t afford it and don’t need it so if you expect to be paid for it later, I don’t want it. If you are truly giving it to me, then thankyou.” It kinda ruined the whole gift giving gift getting warm fuzzies. roftlmao, I just remembered!! he used to steal my tools, screw drivers, wrenches etc. I started painting them with orange spray paint so I would know they were mine, he would started spraying all his tools blue. When I didn’t have any tools he would generously give me some of his; I would end up getting my own tools back with blue spray paint covering the orange paint but he was never very careful and the orange would be visible.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      How the narcissist views possession and possessions – what is theirs is theirs, what is yours is theirs, what belongs to others should be theirs… and if they can’t have it no one can have it.

      And if you value something, then it must be very valuable and they have to have it… but once they have it, it doesn’t feel as valuable to them as it did when it was yours and you valued it and they wanted it, needed it, and had to have it. So they throw it to one side once they get it and seek out other things which are valuable to you which they don’t have but will get through sheer persistent nagging and stuff… because they never learn, or at least what they learn seems like they never learn.

      They keep repeating the same old pattern hoping that the results will be different this time around. This time things will work out for them ad they will be satisfied, but they never are.

      We do learn… although it takes us a while to do so, because we also keep hoping things will be different this time around, but for other reasons (maybe). We keep hoping they will change, but not in the way that they change, in the way that we change through learning, but they never do… not in the way that we want and need them to… And so it goes.

      The tool story is very interesting and insightful, have you done a blog post about it?

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    1. It’s part of my personal collection of Aesop’s fables. Incidents which my mind has never forgotten, however inane they may seem, because they hold within them a snippet of wisdom, a life lesson, in a very simple form. When one of these memories pops up in my mind, it’s often because the pattern is repeating in some way and it reminds me of what I’ve learned thus far. Sometimes by reviewing the incident I find something which I previously missed, or spot a tangent which ties it pertinently to a life lesson in progress. 🙂

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      1. Don’t get me wrong, the story is very beautiful. It just didn’t realize how it was going to sting. As a child, and young women I loved material possessions. Now, they mean nothing. I hate having people “help” me, because of the “price” and the “weakness” of “owing”, someone else. So the wounds of childhood, scars you into adulthood. I am just trying to fade them now. 😊! And this story isn’t just a snippet, it holds a whole lot more, for me anyway! Thank you!

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  2. That was rich, this line especially: “one could never be grateful enough towards someone who was generous to a fault.”

    This story makes me feel like laughing and crying at the same time! You’ve captured not only the grandiosity of a narcissistic mother but the depth of her envy, too. Love this so much. Thank you. xxx

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  3. Ahaha! You hit home once again…being forced to accept gifts and then feeling guilty somehow as we don’t wear them as we should; I bought my first dresses in my twenties and they mysteriously disappeared as they weren’t nice enough. Concerning generosity, I consider myself so and I have received too a lot in life, but sometimes i noticed i am too generous as it’s a way to apologize for my presence or being myself.i am also very scared when gifts are not authentic, I mean they don’t come from the heart, same as compliments, I feel unconfortable.
    Lakshmi, Indian goddess- what a coincidence today i went to the Indian neighborood to buy spices and incense, i felt so happy in that ocean of scented abundance , curry leaves, turmeric, pepper…All in my tiny kitchen now.this is also a sort of generosity-smells and scents- I do cherish with all my heart as I find them uplifting for the heart and the mind. Thank you! xxx

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      Years ago I came across a quote which said something along the lines of – Just because someone gives you a gift, it does not mean that you have to accept it. I think it’s a buddhist quote, I can’t quite recall the source or the quote itself at the moment. It was being used as a wise approach to criticism, as in – just because someone tells you something negative about yourself, it does not mean that you have to accept it. When I read it, it blew my mind and blew away some old cobwebs of programming confusion.

      Narcs tend to be of the opinion that – what’s theirs is theirs and what is yours is theirs too – and they spend a great amount of time watching you to make sure that you don’t have anything they want, if you do you have to give it to them. They also expect you to accept whatever they give you and be eternally grateful about it. They want to have it all (and they want others to have nothing), as that means they have all the power which comes with having it all. If they think you have something which they don’t have and want, then for them that means you have power over them and that makes them feel powerless which is one of their worst fears.

      I love the scent of spices in the kitchen, your Indian feast sounds delicious 🙂

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