Currently, I am giving away all my books.
I am not sure exactly why I am doing it. I guess I just want to see what will happen when I give away some of my most cherished possessions for free.
So far, after only a few days, I have already been learning things.
Here are five lessons giving away my books is teaching me about love:
1. It is most accepted when it is freely given. I tried having a book sale a few months ago. All of the money went to a good cause, and I kept none of it for myself, but only a few people made any purchases. Now that the books have been free, people have been taking them by the armful. People more willingly accept things that are free. If you want to love people, let them take your love for free.
2. It needs to be self-sacrificial. One of my friends asked for a book suggestion. I knew that the book that could help him the most was also my second favorite book ever, but I gave it to him anyways. If you are truly looking out for the needs of someone else over your own, you need to be willing to give things up. You need to be willing to freely give up the things that are important to you, like time, being right, your reputation, a book, or money.
3. Sometimes you get something back, and sometimes you don’t. There have been a few people that have given me money for the books they have taken. They didn’t need to, but they wanted to. There have also been people who have simply taken books. And both cases are okay, and good, and have given me joy. If you love someone, he or she won’t always love you back. But sometimes, he or she will. You need to be ready to accept either happening, and gain your joy from the giving, not from the getting.
4. It is the best way. Giving away my most prized possessions has not made me bitter, remorseful, or wanting. Instead, it has made me feel happier, more joyful, and freer. I am convinced that I will be more satisfied, and experience more pleasure, by giving away everything I have than by gaining all the riches and treasures of the world.
5. It needs to be personal. When someone asks for a suggestion, I need to think about them personally, and try to figure out the kind of book they would like, or might need. If I made the same suggestions for every person, there would probably be a lot of people with books that weren’t quite the right fit. Sometimes in my life I get so caught up in loving people in general that I forget to love individuals. I forget to take the time to listen to people, and to speak into their individual lives, and to meet their individual needs. Loving everyone in the same way simply ceases to become love.
Question: Have you been learning about what love is or isn’t lately? Do you agree or disagree with any of these lessons I have been learning?
If you are interested in my books, here is the rapidly-shrinking list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aik-uWXWJ2v7dG5TY2xVazd2VzNhS2JWRTlhN1BVVVE#gid=0