If you’re anything like me, you may often find yourself in an awkward juxtaposition between selflessness, and your desire for recognition. Whether it’s in the context of giving a gift, offering your talents, or any other gestures of kindness…it’s hard not to seek praise for those things. Selflessness…true, genuine selflessness, is extremely rare to find.
The heart behind this week’s post is simple. I want to provide you fine gentlemen with a few practical ways to go out into your respective spheres of influence and love others without recognition or acknowledgement.
As much as we’d like to believe that all of our actions are selfless and genuine, very rarely can we truly say that our gifts, whatever they may be, are given with complete anonymity and humility. In most situations, we usually manage to get some sort of recognition for our actions.
Have you ever knowingly left the price tag on a present because you wanted someone else to know how much you spent on them? Yeah…thought so ;). And for all of you who just marked the price through with a single line of a pen, making it look like you attempted to cross it out but really you knew they could still read it…yeah I’m lookin’ at you too.
Though the point I make is a relatively silly one, the issue that it exposes is a much bigger and much deeper conflict that we’ve all struggled with for all of our lives.
We desire to give genuinely, and without expectation of recognition or reward, but very rarely actually follow through. In the 11th hour we swoop in with a self-serving remark or loaded question that boasts of our wonderful kindness.
Gentlemen, it’s time we make an intentional effort to give with humility, yes, even with anonymity. In this way a gift can bless another 10 fold because it’s entirely untainted by selfish motives or intentions.
As a side note, know that I say the word “gift” intending to paint with broad strokes. A gift can look like anything. Your time, your money, an actual physical gift, your resources….anything.
But regardless of what we are giving, let’s make an effort to give it in a way that points not to ourselves, but to the person we are giving to. Do this and you will certainly bless someone far greater than if you were to muck up the intentions with your selfishness.
The following 3 points are some practical strategies I hope you’ll find helpful in your quest to do so.
But, as always, know that the points I give are just a small sampling of all the ways we can give of ourselves. Knowing your specific situations, relationships, and the needs of those around you, give in the ways that will make the most impact, not just based on what is listed here.
Send a typed letter to a friend without a return address.
It’s always an important practice to be intentionally engaged in conversations with the people around you in a way that “tunes you in” to their needs and struggles. A great example is when someone expresses an insecurity of theirs. This is an excellent opportunity to bless that person in a very specific and impactful way.
Write them a short and thoughtful letter affirming and encouraging them in that specific insecurity. Type the letter out so they can’t recognize the handwriting.
Of course there are all sorts of ways you could get the letter to tie back to you somehow, like speaking to something that they’ve only confided in you about. C’mon…don’t be crafty….you know how to do this in a way that leaves you anonymous. Try it out.
Positively review an employee’s performance to their manager.
Next time you have a positive interaction with a retail or restaurant employee, make a note of their name. Track down the number of that store and speak with their manager. Leave a glowing review of the employees work and helpfulness and suggest that they be recognized/rewarded for their exemplary performance. If you are asked for your name or about specifics pertaining to your interaction, simply decline and request that your review remain anonymous. Hopefully their manager will recognize their good work and they will get a “job well done” from their boss, totally unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere. That will break up anyone’s shift :).
Leave something fun for the next user of a chair in a public place.
This is a great way to make someone’s day in an entirely unexpected way! Next time you run across something that seems to be universally uplifting, purchase it for this exercise specifically! This could be anything, really. I figure you’ll know it when you see it. Anyways…next time you head to a public place where you know you’ll use a chair, take it with you. When you go, leave that gift on the seat and push it in for the next person to discover! This may seem small, but it may just reach the right person, on the right day, and make a really positive impact in just the right way.
As I said before, these are simply a few examples of ways you can be intentional to bless someone with a gift without seeking recognition for yourself. Regardless of how you choose to go about it, it’s an extremely important virtue for any modern day gentleman to practice.
Now go. Go and give without condition. Go and sacrifice without recognition. Go and bless others without expectation. Go and love humbly…and make a silently profound impact on the world.