Can gift giving be selfish?

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10 Dec 2018 18:29 #330556 by Vaziel_Sorel
I am currently dealing with drama with my family. I have a Mother who likes to give gifts for Christmas and a Sister that thinks my mother is being selfish and that opening "that many presents" is a waste of time for her and her family. She claims that her kids don't like the tradition of each person opening a gift one at a time. While I do agree that it can be time consuming, it makes my mother happy, it doesn't hurt anyone, and we're all going to be there anyway. I first thought that she was embarrassed with her finances being tight, but she has no problem giving my mother her list with items well over our discussed gift budget.Now, She is currently not talking to my mother for some unknown reason, but I digress.

My question is whether anyone thinks that giving gifts can be selfish?

Also any advice on my current problem is welcome.
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10 Dec 2018 18:46 #330560 by OB1Shinobi
If i understand correctly the “selfish” part is that your mother wants the kids to open the presents in a certain way even though the kids themselves dont want to do it that way. Im not saying this is selfish im just explaining my interpretation. Your mom probably wants to see each of the childrens reactions to each of the gifts (im guessing) whereas your sisters kids just want to open their presents at their own pace (probably hyperspeed) and your sister doesnt want to make them follow your moms protocol.

Is this right?

"One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond that is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways"
-Lord Russel
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10 Dec 2018 18:47 #330561 by thomaswfaulkner
Hey Vaziel,

That sounds like quite the mess of happenings to juggle. I'd be a fool if I said I could interpret the situation accurately, but at least from my perspective it seems like there is some unresolved suffering, of some sort, manifesting and is being displaced as issues with gifts.


The best advice I could give to you is the simply be kind and be present for both your mother and your sister. Somewhere there's hurt... and there's potential you may never understand its source, but you can be the benefactor of love so that the relationship can foster. We can't make people change their doings, but we can be that lighted path and sense of hope.

Right View ~ Right Intention ~ Right Speech ~ Right Action ~ Right Livelihood ~ Right Effort ~ Right Mindfulness ~ Right Concentration



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May all beings be happy and free and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute
in some way to the happiness and freedom for all.
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10 Dec 2018 18:54 #330563 by Kasumi
Replied by Kasumi on topic Can gift giving be selfish?
On the one hand, sure, giving gifts can have selfish motives. I can give you something in order to create a sense of indebtedness (blatantly selfish) or just because I enjoy feeling a little superior (less blatant) or because I will enjoy seeing you happy (probably least blatant). And your mother is probably doing at least a little of that: I am comfortable saying she is looking forward to seeing her family being excited about and enjoying her gifts. There's some selfishness involved in that.

But it sounds like your sister has something else going on. I don't want to speculate about people I don't know, but it sounds like there's probably some underlying conflict with your mother that is being played out over holiday presents and family holiday time. The only advice I can give is to have an honest conversation with your sister about what outcome she's hoping to achieve. Remember she is trying to make the best decision she can in the moment, whether or not you agree with it.

+++
I do not fight for gain or loss, am not concerned with strength or weakness, and neither advance a step nor retreat a step. ~Takuan
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10 Dec 2018 19:14 #330566 by Arisaig
Replied by Arisaig on topic Can gift giving be selfish?
Sounds like the consensus here is that, perhaps, the gifts are being given for the sake of getting that 'feel good' feeling of giving... rather than the act of giving itself.

In the end, if you won't feel good even if you never see them with the gift, is it really selfless gift giving? Even if you never receive thanks for it?

Non nocere, sed ut nullum cacas.
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10 Dec 2018 19:21 #330567 by Vaziel_Sorel
OB1Shinobi
I am not sure. I am just as confused. I think it had something to do with the amount of gifts that my mother would give out and in-turn the gifts effects the amount of time.

thomaswfaulkner
I am sure there is more to the story that I am not getting. I am currently getting only my mother's side of the story, which is my first problem.

Kasumi
My mother is definitely giving the gifts because she wants to see us opening them and then she gets her dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin fix. My major flaw in this conflict is I haven't heard my sister's side of this story and why she feels this way.

Arisaig
It seems like I have to play mediator and try to bring this conflict to a close. Gently of course.


Thank you for your responses.
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10 Dec 2018 19:23 #330568 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Can gift giving be selfish?

Vaziel_Sorel wrote: I am currently dealing with drama with my family. I have a Mother who likes to give gifts for Christmas and a Sister that thinks my mother is being selfish and that opening "that many presents" is a waste of time for her and her family. She claims that her kids don't like the tradition of each person opening a gift one at a time. While I do agree that it can be time consuming, it makes my mother happy, it doesn't hurt anyone, and we're all going to be there anyway. I first thought that she was embarrassed with her finances being tight, but she has no problem giving my mother her list with items well over our discussed gift budget.Now, She is currently not talking to my mother for some unknown reason, but I digress.

My question is whether anyone thinks that giving gifts can be selfish?

Also any advice on my current problem is welcome.


It really depends on the circumstances. What you describe sounds much more like a tradition, not a personal preference. For my family it's kind of the same thing because that's how my inlaws do it. That's their tradition. And it does give the giver a chance to have that momentary connection with the person receiving the gift. And in that moment each person can say thanks. This tradition could very well breed a competitive spirit... how got the best gift... who gives the best gifts... and so forth. And if you want to go broke playing that game you can, but children are the ultimate equalizers and if the gift isn't thoughtful enough they're more likely to play with the box it came in.

And your instincts could definitely be correct. Christmas time can easily cause depression and remind people of what they don't have; whether money to buy gifts, or family or friends to share the holidays with. I would recommend that if her money is tight then others might be gently influenced to also give less expensive but maybe more personalized perhaps more sentimental gifts and emphasize the importance of the immaterial gifts such as time, effort, and love. Those things have even more value.
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10 Dec 2018 19:42 - 10 Dec 2018 19:46 #330572 by OB1Shinobi

Vaziel_Sorel wrote: OB1Shinobi
I am not sure. I am just as confused. I think it had something to do with the amount of gifts that my mother would give out and in-turn the gifts effects the amount of time.

thomaswfaulkner
I am sure there is more to the story that I am not getting. I am currently getting only my mother's side of the story, which is my first problem.

Kasumi
My mother is definitely giving the gifts because she wants to see us opening them and then she gets her dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin fix. My major flaw in this conflict is I haven't heard my sister's side of this story and why she feels this way.

Arisaig
It seems like I have to play mediator and try to bring this conflict to a close. Gently of course.


Thank you for your responses.



I think it would be fine to talk to both your sister and your mother and let each of them explain how they see the situation, what they want to do, and why they feel the way they feel. Listen to each without arguing or interjecting. “I hear you, thank you for explaining”. At a later time you might come back to each and say “i think she sees it like this and i have to admit i can see her point, too. I sure hope you two can work this out and the whole family can enjoy christmas”

Then let them work it out- or not. Lol. This is not your fight and you dont have to be the referee. IF YOU WANT TO, you can make an attempt to bridge the gap between their perspectives, but be aware that one or both of them may be uncompromising and if so, theres nothing you can do about that. Love them both and let them each know youre not against them, but dont get drawn into their mess beyond a reasonable, neutral effort at diplomacy. People have to work out their own issues and if theres a real power struggle or festering resentment motivating this disagreement, youre probably not going to fix that.

Ad do your best to enjoy christmas and the kids, whatever your mom and sister do.
Thats my advice.

"One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond that is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways"
-Lord Russel
Last edit: 10 Dec 2018 19:46 by OB1Shinobi.
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10 Dec 2018 19:55 - 10 Dec 2018 20:01 #330575 by thomaswfaulkner

OB1Shinobi wrote: OB1Shinobi


Then let them work it out- or not. Lol. This is not your fight and you dont have to be the referee. IF YOU WANT TO, you can make an attempt to bridge the gap between their perspectives, but be aware that one or both of them may be uncompromising and if so, theres nothing you can do about that. Love them both and let them each know youre not against them, but dont get drawn into their mess beyond a reasonable, neutral effort at diplomacy. People have to work out there own issues and if theres a real power struggle or festering resentment motivating this disagreement, youre probably not going to fix that.


Ob, you hit the nail on the head with this one.

Sometimes accepting the fact that there's nothing more we can do than love and be there for them is a hard truth to swallow. But it's worth that piece of mind knowing that we can't change that which can be changed.

Right View ~ Right Intention ~ Right Speech ~ Right Action ~ Right Livelihood ~ Right Effort ~ Right Mindfulness ~ Right Concentration



Knight of the Order
Ordained Clergy Person
Teaching Master: Senan
IP Journal l AP Journal l Seminary Journal l Personal Ministry Statement

If you need to talk, we are here to listen.
Contact the Clergy

May all beings be happy and free and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute
in some way to the happiness and freedom for all.
Last edit: 10 Dec 2018 20:01 by thomaswfaulkner. Reason: Mobile formatting
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11 Dec 2018 14:20 #330617 by _Vergere_
Giving anything to anyone is always selfish. Allow me to explain.

When one gives (or more to the point, helps others) it always has an effect on the giver. In a broader sense, considering that we are all a part of a whole, a piece of the universe in which we are united, what you give to others you give to yourself, because you and I, and everyone alive are ONE.




Listen well: everything I tell you is a lie; every question I ask you is a trick; you will find no truth in me.
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