Giving to Get. Is It Love?

Today, I'm thinking of love. I'm a lifelong student of it.

Like you, it's important for me to learn what is and how to love. It's quite a necessity in life for all human beings.

One essential aspect of love is giving.

I believe all lovers are givers. They can't help it.

But is the reverse necessarily true? Are all givers lovers?

Reality is, it depends. On the motive. What's inside the mind and heart of the giver.

There is a difference between "giving to give" and "giving to get."

Often, our giving is not what it appears to be. Most of the giving we see around is done to get something in return.

I've met a father who claimed that he's a loving parent. He mentioned the proof of his sacrifices working as an OFW on behalf of his children.

Returning home, he found his son and daughter alienated from him. Not meeting his demands and expectations. Not following his orders or caring for him.

In session, he blurted out, "How could they do this to me after all I've done and given to them?" What's hidden had come out.

The cry of anguish reflects parental "giving to get," which is pseudo-love.

"Giving to get" also comes from other varied motives or forms of relationship.

Giving sex for money. Caregiving to get inheritance. One-sided marriages where one "saves" the other to feel good about one's self.

Donating to charity to glorify one's self. Caring for pets to feel needed. Giving to people to get sympathy. Self denial or martyrdom as indirect manipulation to be one up on others.

The deal is conditional. "I'll give to you if you'll give to me." That's what "giving to get" is. And it isn't love.

So part of the confusion about giving is mistaking it to be automatically love.

"Giving to give" is possible only through the exchange of real love that already exists deep within us.

Those who do give this way give without guilt ... and for no other need than that of the receiver.

"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving," says writer Amy Carmichael.