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cold as charity

Old 08-20-2021, 11:11 AM
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cold as charity

I just came across this phrase in a book I was reading . . . it might not be politically or socially correct, but is aptly descriptive in the situation described by the Scottish author.

I started thinking about why charity might be considered cold. I thought about how in traditional Scottish culture, it's considered a good trait to be hardworking and self - sufficient. Then I thought that charity couldn't be cold because it helps others who are in need, that there are truly people who need help, and mostly are unwilling to ask for it.

But then I really thought about it: charity is cold. This is where codependency comes in. Our modern society seems to be filled with it -- volunteering in itself should be a good thing, a community - minded thing. But for codies, volunteering really fills our tank, helps us feel worthwhile. And I think that's where the coldness comes in. For codies, it's about us, about the good things we've done for the less fortunate. And it's cold because it's not about us, yet we make it that way, we make it cold by minimalising how "the less fortunate" might feel, by telling a story about how we rescued "the less fortunate" with our good deeds, how selfless and self - sacrificing we are . . .

Ugh. Time to be thoughtful.
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Old 08-20-2021, 11:22 AM
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Duality. There are many ways to look at many subjects.

I volunteer time occasionally at:

local food banks
churches
community center

Good karma.

I'm still learning which ones are in line with my personal work ethics of productivity, kindness (genuine), etc.

I could have made $20/hour helping a "charitable" organization today, yet the disorganization, waste of donations, mess and lack of focus is cut easily from my list of those to show up for.

As recovery literature puts it: we intuitively know how to do things that used to baffle us.

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Old 08-20-2021, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sage1969 View Post
I For codies, it's about us, about the good things we've done for the less fortunate. And it's cold because it's not about us, yet we make it that way, we make it cold by minimalising how "the less fortunate" might feel, by telling a story about how we rescued "the less fortunate" with our good deeds, how selfless and self - sacrificing we are . . .

Ugh. Time to be thoughtful.
Thanks Sage. This speaks a lot to me. I really question my "Do gooder nature". Often I think the best thing I can do in this world is take care of myself and stay out of many people's life.
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Old 08-20-2021, 09:24 PM
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Sage and Nike, I agree w/both of you.

Several years ago, I volunteered for a group called Victory Gardens. Our job was to go out, in 8-hour shifts, and install raised-bed gardens for those who'd purchased them. The crew I was with spent a LOT of time casually mentioning to each other the other places they'd volunteered, and most of them were wearing T-shirts from those other organizations. However, come lunchtime, ALL of those folks, except for myself and one other person, found they had something urgent to attend to that they'd forgotten about and unfortunately wouldn't be able to finish out their commitment.

Indeed.

More recently, I volunteered at a local food pantry. They were organized, time frames and goals were clear, and service was efficient (this was during Covid times, so items were bagged and delivered to each car rather than people walking through the place and "shopping").

I'd go back to the food pantry in a heartbeat. I have zero interest in working for the Victory Garden folks again.

Like anything else, giving can be done in a healthy or unhealthy way, I believe.
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Old 08-20-2021, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekindalways View Post
Thanks Sage. This speaks a lot to me. I really question my "Do gooder nature". Often I think the best thing I can do in this world is take care of myself and stay out of many people's life.
LOL! A hearty amen to this, BeKindAlways. Me staying out of other peoples lives is the best gift of volunteering I can give.

Funny you mention this, in a local charity shop there is a volunteer lady who (to me) has waves of being a codie coming off her. She speaks so very loudly and condescendingly to the customers. I can almost feel the smug self gratification she is getting. Telling herself what a wonderful helper she is. Temporarily filling that desperately empty void of pain within her. I could feel that pain coming off her within the other codie vibes. Crikey, I wouldn't want that to be me.

Off on a tangent a bit, I remember years ago at Al-anon meetings sometimes you would get people come along under the guise of them being "professionals" and wanting to learn about what it is like for people living with alkies. These people (to me) always had that same vibe about them. That they were there because they were in deep pain about something in their personal life but they needed the mask of being a "professional" to allow them to attend Al-anon. So very time they spoke, they would make big fuss about them being a professional and no, I don't have this problem but I want to help others who do. Um, riiiight!

One of our codie super powers is reading people, isn't it? Learnt whilst growing up in the dangerous chimps tea party that living in active alcoholism is. A useful power when used right.
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Old 08-21-2021, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by PeacefulWater12 View Post
LOL! A hearty amen to this, BeKindAlways. Me staying out of other peoples lives is the best gift of volunteering I can give.
Its nice to be here with you all who understand. Our "giving and caring " nature has a super dark side.

One thing that reveals my arrogance is that whenever anyone helps or suggests that they are helping me I see a bit of cringe or defensiveness in myself . . . . somewhere in my psyche is a belief that I am somehow better and I AM the helper. I do NOT need help. Ugh.

On that note I'm off to do a bit more yoga, put another screen back and put out my sewing things.
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Old 08-21-2021, 03:37 PM
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My personal experience on charity is this----across my life I have been helped by so many people---I. for sure, would not be where I am now, without the help of others---some known and some strangers---I am sure that some never even knew how much their generosity affected me.
At the time I received----I, often never had a chance to return the favor.
Now, whenever I am in a position to be a giver---I don't feel co-dependent or "superior" or bad about the giving. I feel grateful for the chance to pay it forward.
I felt that the Universe valued me when I was in need and it was given to me. When I do the giving---I feel like I am valuing others---a person or creature of some part of the Universe that we are all interdependent with.
It feels Right.
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Old 08-21-2021, 05:03 PM
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^ Agree - thank you, dandylion.
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Old 08-21-2021, 05:38 PM
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There may be some who have a feeling of superiority of condescension in their motives. I've never heard the phrase, but to me it would hint at someone giving because it was expected of him/her, not because it was something the giver was passionate about.

I choose to believe more are like what Honeypig described.
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Old 08-21-2021, 11:31 PM
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In me, I can genuinely give from a place of freedom and love, as well as from a place of feeling superior.

It is my motive at the time I need to look at. Am I doing it from a healthy place or toxic place.

Same with receiving, is it coming from a place of love and kindness or does it have heavy chains attached to it that the person is going to later use. This being my experience in childhood, everything had a nasty price attached to it. Eg - 1972 I did ........ for you, therefore you owe me! Eye roll.

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Old 08-22-2021, 06:47 AM
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Dear Sage
I was volunteering at our church recently, and Codependency only reared its head when the culture over me starting getting crazy.
When it became obvious that the position was at odds with my recovery and sobriety, I left.
I have started attending a different parish.
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Old 08-28-2021, 04:04 PM
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I volunteer at a local pantry also, and help out others when I get the word. Its hands down the best thing I've ever done wrt recovery; I think AA Chuck Chamberlain had it right when he said love is service. Our pantry operates monthly, no matter how twisted up my head is I get free of it serving folks there. The lady who runs it is the finest leader I've ever had the privilege of working with; she leads entirely from the front and is always changing up the system to provide a more nuanced service to the folks who come in. Recovery-wise she's a normie, but was married to an AA (my alanon sponsor), so has friends in both programs.

We get to know some of the people who come in.. worry about them when we don't see them. Drugs take many, some you can see wither from month to month. Some of my most treasured memories there were moments when I could help in a little way instead of just handing them a bag.
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Old 08-28-2021, 08:33 PM
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I have found ways I can be helpful to others without going past my boundaries. If someone asks me for help, I do my best to help, even if it is just to refer to a better option. I had let go of my of my other group memberships because I'd been operating from an unhealthy, codependent mindset, so I've been cautious and thoughtful about what commitments I do make. I have found a particular group that is supportive of sober living and recovery, where I feel intention and prayer are aligned, where I feel welcome, and where my boundaries are respected, and where I feel my contributions are helpful.
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Old 09-01-2021, 08:14 PM
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For me, I’ve realized my favorite way to participate in the give-and-take that is natural in a healthy community is by waiting till I’m invited/asked for help. Maybe not always in words, but if someone comes to a place (food bank, laundry love night, place of worship, etc) that is offering, I consider that a form of asking/accepting support. Or if I know asking makes someone uncomfortable, I may offer but never push if I am turned down.

You know, I think it is a bit of word-choice, too! I prefer to think of whatever acts of service I do as “support.” Supporting my community. It’s not me giving a gift/charity. It’s me wanting to be included in a community, a village, and understanding that doing my part is how I belong. Others do the same for me. Perhaps charity is cold because it almost implies you aren’t “in the trenches” with your fellow man.
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Old 09-01-2021, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by edoering View Post
Perhaps charity is cold because it almost implies you aren’t “in the trenches” with your fellow man.
edoering, this seems really insightful to me. This is a thought that I will take a closer look at.
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