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Why do we give?
Why do we hold back?
What does it mean to give freely?
When we give of ourselves, what are we giving?
Can you give too much? Too much…love?

GIVING: Part 1 in a potentially endless series

In this segment, I’m exploring the shadowy side of “giving.” The kind of giving that has some barbs on it. It creates snags. It may look free, but it costs your psyche and everyone involved.

Both of these statements are true:

You are the center of the universe.

You’re not that important.

Somewhere in that spectrum of interdependence is our tenderly human, potentially very messy need to be needed.

The ego loves to be needed@DanielleLaPorte (Click to Tweet!)

FREE IT UP

I was called for jury duty this year. It was a murder case. Her name was also Danielle, and she’d been accused of fatally shooting her man. How jury selection works here is that they get a few hundred potential jurors to file into the courthouse. Each person stands before the judge and nine out of ten of them give some reason why they should be let off the hook from doing their civic duty. “I’m a single mom. I’m having surgery. I’ll be in Europe. I’m friends with the lawyer.” It’s a tedious, fascinating process.

This was one of those occasions where I knew I could pull some cosmic strings. It felt within my control to make this go in the direction I wanted it to, but I would have to be piercingly clear about the outcome I desired: on the jury, or not?

I looked at The Accused sitting like a still mouse in a glass box. She was tiny, forlorn, she might have worked in a convenience store. She looked straight ahead, sadly. But when my name was called, she looked my way. Our eyes met, woman to woman, Danielle to Danielle. I shot her some love. She needed it. And in that second, the voice that lives in the center of me said, Poor thing. She did it.

And then my I’m So Important Voice kicked in: I’d be so great on a jury. Like Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men. Logical but empathic. A leader. A Crusader of Fair Justice. I’d have new stories to tell. This case needed someone just like me. Yeah.

Gross.

Did I really want to play a role in sending someone to prison for life?
Did I want to “free” someone who’d killed someone’s son? Did I want to play God for a day? It wasn’t about time spent. It wasn’t about democracy, it was really about something much more powerful than that: influencing freedom.

This situation wasn’t a page I wanted in my book. This wasn’t for me to carry.

And then that voice that lives in the center of me said: Step away from the karma. Just step away.

Click. My inner gears shifted into high clarity. “God, take me out of this.” I said. This was not my drama.

I was next in line to go before the judge. The person right in-front of me was selected as the final juror. Magic Number 12. “Ms. LaPorte,” said the Bailiff, “You’re free to go.”

Freedom, chosen.


Danielle LaPorte is the outspoken creator of The Desire Map, author of The Fire Starter Sessions (Random House/Crown), and co-creator of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec and business strategist, she writes weekly at DanielleLaPorte.com, where over a million visitors have gone for her straight-up advice — a site that’s been deemed “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality”, and was named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes.

You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter @daniellelaporte.

*Featured image by Lali Masriera