Don't Give Out of Guilt, Broke Girls (aka your Pity is Pointless)

Part of the mission of The Broke Girls Guide to Giving is to throw down some truthbombs about philanthropy, non-profits, donors and giving....In addition to saying "Hey, the fact that you're a Broke Girl is no excuse not to get off your ass and do a little good", the Broke Girl’s Guide to Giving promotes not only the idea that you CAN give, but that you should also know WHY you are giving. The reason for this? It’s because if you know why you’re doing something - especially something that may be a challenge for you (like forking over your ever-limited supply of cash for a good cause) – you’re more likely to do it, and to keep doing it. It’s like working out – no one really LIKES getting up at 5:30AM to get in a pre-work run, but if you know WHY you are putting yourself through that torture (whether the “why” is because you’re training for a marathon to raise money for cancer research or just real freakin’ desperate to fit into your skinny jeans before next weekend’s party where your ex will be there with his new gal…no judgement, we’ve all been there) you’re more likely to get your ass outta that cozy bed and head out the door, right? Same applies for giving.

Look I’m not splitting the atom here – if you know you’re purpose, you’re more likely to take action. We all know this to be true. But the trick when it comes to giving is this: for a lot of Broke Girls, whether we want to acknowledge it or not (and mostly we don’t), the “why” in “why we give” is usually rooted in that big ugly G-word: Guilt. Ugh GUILT. I was raised Catholic….of guilt, I know. And while, as Broke Girls, we are, well, “broke”, we can feel guilt around giving as much as our Not So Broke Girl buddies do. We feel guilty all the time, right?

·        We feel guilty for what we have

·        We feel guilty for wanting what we don’t have because we should just appreciate what we do have

·        We feel guilty for feeling guilty

·        We feel guilty that we spent time or money on a cause that could have been time or money spent on our kids or family or friends

·        We feel guiltily for not spending ENOUGH time or money on a cause BECAUSE that’s time or money spent on our kids or family or friends…..

And when the guilt ties into the giving, when the guilt is the reason we give, or when the guilt keeps us from feeling good about our give, that’s when we have a problem. That’s when the giving will stop. That’s when the “why bother” syndrome sets in.

Guilt is all around. And guilt is toxic. Guilt is unproductive. Guilt is a fucking waste of time and energy and you’re a Broke Girl – you don’t have time or energy to waste. It’s easy to feel guilty, to give a donation to an organization online or toss a $5 bill to a homeless person on the street because you feel guilty for what you have - and pity for what someone else doesn't have. But here's the hard truth, Broke Girls: your serves no good purpose. Here’s another one: no one wants your pity. Guilt and Pity should be nowhere in your Broke Girl vocabulary. Empathy and Empowerment should.

Just because you're a Broke Girl doesn't mean you can’t give - there is always something for you to give. And when you give, don't do it because you feel guilty, or because you feel bad for someone else - do it because at some point someone did it for you. Do it not because you see all that someone lacks, but because you see all they have to give as well. Do it not because you feel guilty that you can’t do MORE, do it because you feel good that you can do SOMETHING. Do it not because you feel bad for people in XYZ seemingly-shitty-to-your-outsider-eyes neighborhood, city, or county, but because you know that XYZ seemingly-shitty-to-your-outsider-eyes neighborhood, city, or county is inherently good and that’s what you're aiming to support. Don’t come from a place of pity when you give, come from a place of potential. Don’t come from a place of guilt when you give, come from a place of empowerment instead. That’s what it means to be a Broke Girl who Gives.