You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have
Contributed by Andrew Love
Idealists are wonderful people. Huge hearts, great visions of grandeur, and usually amazing huggers as well. I should know, I’m a HUGE idealist.
But wanting something is very different from having something.
What is often the case is that those who yearn for some outcome come from circumstances that are the very juxtaposition of that which they seek. Like people who come from dysfunctional families who try their hardest to create stable homes for their kids, or people who were born in poverty that make every effort to become wealthy. It can be those who were born in the darkest depths of hell who have the most motivation to rise up from the ashes and recreate themselves.
But it doesn’t mean they are able to create what they are seeking after. Desire and will are just a couple of the necessary ingredients to get what you are seeking after.
If you don’t have any taste buds, it will be extremely difficult to become a master chef. If you have never experienced peace, it’s hard to speak with authority on the subject of “creating peace” in your life or society in general. It’s all theory.
I have heard on occasion someone mention to another that they “wish” they could give more money to the poor. This “wishing” is little more than a passive fantasy. It shows no commitment, it helps nobody, and it ultimately means nothing. Though it sounds harsh, I’m merely making a point:
Choose your battles wisely and admit when you don’t have the bandwidth to actually care about something.
That’s the honest thing to do. Talking and doing are mutually exclusive. They are both important, but very different skill sets.
If you see someone in need, then you can either choose to help them now if you have the means, or make the effort to have the means later. If someone wants to speak with you but you don’t have the time now, then make the time–otherwise your actions are showing them clearly that they are not as important as the other items in your calendar.
In terms of what High Noon is involved in, we are steadfast in our efforts to embody the virtues we promote with extreme prejudice. We cringe at the idea of speaking publicly about matters we don’t practice ourselves. It’s hypocritical and highly damaging to speak one way and to live another.
In fact, to preach of ideals that you yourself have no substantial relationship with devalues the ideas you are promoting. People nowadays are looking for examples, not ideas. There are enough ideas in this internet era, but too few people who are living up to their ideals.
This is all to hammer home the concept that making every effort to first embody your values and ideals is the best investment for creating lasting societal change. Though idealists love the notion of running out and saving the world ASAP, whatever change they seek to make will inevitably be thwarted by their own inability to have their truth coursing through their veins. The world of peace we seek externally must first be established internally. There are no shortcuts.
The best gift you can give to those you seek to help is a solid foundation for them to rest upon. The most selfless act of all is investing in yourself to become qualified enough to actually help others.