Giving Love is Supposed to Feel Good


Look at the women in this picture. I'm not sure if they're relatives or friends, but they are so close together that you can't see space between them. Relaxed and at ease, they want to share their love with each other and anyone else who looks at this photograph. It's obvious that they love each other, which makes them happy.

When people share love, they feel good. 

And yet, some people will actually try to tell you that sharing real, pure love shouldn't feel good. That, if you perform an act of loving kindness it's "selfish" to feel good about it. According to some, you should just give love and never, ever feel good about it, or you will taint love's power and goodness with self-congratulations.  

Frankly, this attitude isn't logical. Why shouldn't a loving act feel as good for you as for the person you're giving it to? Why shouldn't giving someone a loving hug, or a kind word, or support in their time of need feel good? After all, love feels good. If you don't feel good after doing something you thought was loving, then that's a clue that you aren't giving love.

There is a caveat to this that I will discuss later in this article. But first, let me tell you a story from my life that illustrates this concept:

A long time ago, I worked for a small non-profit company. I loved the people in my department, and I felt supported and enriched by my department managers and co-workers. 

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same of the company's CEO. Not to go into too much detail, but he was not a nice man. He regularly yelled at, degraded and humiliated his executives and company employees. This CEO created an atmosphere of chaos and conflict due to his ever-changing company policies and raging outbursts. No-one escaped his nasty verbal darts - you knew that, eventually, you were going to get hit with one but you didn't know when. 

It's sad the impact one person can have on an entire company. Being nasty may get results in the short-term, but during the 17 months that I worked for this company, I saw that it did a lot more damage to company morale, inter-departmental cooperation, and financial well-being long-term. 

One holiday season, this CEO gave the company departments a challenge: the department that bought the most canned/dry goods for the local food pantry in a week would win a free lunch. Everyone thought this was a great idea. This was an organized way to give aid to those in need, and have a little friendly competition in the process. 

There was a woman in our department who was having difficulties in her personal life. When our department manager announced the fund-raising challenge to us in our weekly meeting, she stood up and gave an inspiring speech. She told us that, whether we won the free lunch or not, this was our chance to show our gratitude for all that we had and to give to those who had less. She pointed out that if we all pooled our money, we could give several hundred dollars of goods to the cause. She offered to take our money and do the shopping - all we had to do was contribute the funds. We agreed, and inspired, I and another co-worker offered to go along with her to help with the shopping.

We were all genuinely happy and excited to have this opportunity to help others in our community. Sure, we could have given to the food bank separately and felt good about our giving. But doing this act of charity together seemed to amplify the joy of giving.

We finished our shopping and came back to the department with our purchases. The pallets of food and dried goods filled the department entryway. Everyone was happy, and at that point, no-one cared about the free lunch. We were just so excited that we were able to give so much. 

Our department director went to get the CEO so he could see what we had done. I'll never forget what he said when he stood in the doorway to our department, looked at our purchases, and then looked at our smiling faces. He smirked, and said, "Well, I guess you must feel good about yourselves. But, you know that you're not really doing something good if you feel good about it. So, don't congratulate yourselves too much."

My co-worker who spear-headed this effort was standing next to me. I saw her face fall. I am a non-violent person, but at that moment I was so angry that I really wanted to smack him.

Of course, what he said didn't make sense. Love feels good. If you give love, you feel good. You are happy, content, peaceful and even joyful. 

On the other side of the coin, I suspect this CEO gave hate because he felt hateful. I've never known a person to give hate at the same time that the person felt love. 

And, just as love grows the more you give it, the hate he threw at us most likely grew inside of him as a result of what he did. He certainly didn't look satisfied and content as he left our department. Instead, he had the same twisted energy he had when he walked into the room. In the end, I watched a valuable lesson play out in front of me. It taught me that love feels good, and hate doesn't. 

Now here's the caveat: It's not really a good idea to brag about the good things you've done. Bragging isn't a loving act, and does pollute the goodness of love. It also makes the receiver of your love feel small and used by your attention-seeking boasts.

However, feeling good is a natural by-product of giving love. When I channel the universal love energy of Reiki into another person, I experience some of the Reiki healing goodness, too. That makes sense - considering that I'm channeling love, I should feel good! So enjoy the happiness you feel as you hug someone with love, just as you enjoy the happiness they feel when you share your love with them. 

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