Social Question

plethora's avatar

What kind of feelings does the term "give back" bring to mind for you?

Asked by plethora (9555 points ) November 24th, 2011

Not necessarily looking for the definition, although you might want to note what definition you are working with. Interested in whether it brings to mind for you good feelings or bad feelings or no feelings at all….and why. I’ll share my thoughts later in the thread.

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8 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Good feelings. No matter how hard I’ve had it, there is always someone worse off than me, who I could be helping in however small a way. I think of it as sharing good fortune.

Bellatrix's avatar

It makes me feel gratitude. I think about all the good in my life and how much I can do for other people to ‘give some of that good back’. I agree with @augustlan, no matter how bad things have been in my life, it has still been very good compared to many and if I can help someone even it a little way, I feel I should. That is what ‘giving back’ means to me.

marinelife's avatar

Good feelings. I love giving back to the community especially in a long-term self-sustaining way.

babybadger's avatar

Makes me think of the song “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
Giving back is when you share your own fortune with others, and when you help someone who has helped you.

Coloma's avatar

I prefer “paying it forward.” It’s all about sharing, and yes, one can always spare a little something, be it money, a kind word, a smile. Any act of kindness is really a kindness to all, including ourselves as I believe we are all one. :-)

cazzie's avatar

At first I thought ‘good feelings’ because of the phrase, ‘giving back to the community’... but then I remembered what I have had to say to my son a millions times… ‘Give back the… ’ what ever he took. So, at the moment, ‘give back’ refers more to what I have to tell my son when he comes home from school with something that isn’t his.

downtide's avatar

On their own, these words are completely neutral to me. It would depend on the context.

plethora's avatar

Thanks to @Coloma for the phrase “paying it forward”, which, for me, expresses the act of sharing much more clearly.

There is no right nor wrong on this question. I simply wanted to know how it struck you.
Ever since I first heard the phrase (maybe 15 years ago) it brought up negative feelings which I could not understand. As @downtide notes, for me it depends on the context in which I am hearing them. I was hearing them in corporate contexts, ie, some cute new idea to impress the rest of us with how much they are doing for us. My first question was “what have they taken away from us?”.....if they are giving it back. Then it got to the point, that all business was “giving back”. I knew darn well that I had taken nothing away from anyone, and yet I was feeling guilty about not “giving back”.

I’m more clear on it now. I still think it’s an idiotic term, so I pay it forward instead. However, there is now an industry which has developed around it. Google it.

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