Adequacy / inadequacy are not physical boundaries but , states of mind , it depends on what you believe . That’s why what is adequate for one may not be so for someone else , similarly what was adequate today , may not be same tomorrow or vice versa
What is a good fashion ?… there is no one all encompassing answer , fitting all . Good fashion for a person is what he / she can carry off comfortably & confidently . That’s why if someone is awkward wearing the most trendiest of clothing , it’s bad fashion for him ; on the other hand if Gandhiji was comfortable moving around in one cloth around his waste , that was most appropriate fashion statement for him .
What is good / appropriate donation in quantum or form , for a person ? Here too there is no ‘ one size fitting all ‘ , nor is there any absolute threshold . To me that ( amount of ) donation / charity is your threshold , which after you give away , you should be able to ( mentally ) give up . A good donation for you needs to fulfill following criteria :
- It should not create a feeling of ‘ loss ‘
- It should not create a sense of ‘ ownership ‘ … it is that amount which should not make you ‘ follow through ‘ to see what use the receiver is putting it to … it no longer belonged to you
- It should not create a sense of inflated ego of having done a huge favour ( & in turn to expect the receiver to be ‘ indebted ‘ to you )
- It should not create / retain any ‘ attachment ‘ . Your satisfaction / happiness should come from the fact that you did what you wanted to for a good cause , your attachment ended there …. What the receiver does with it is neither under your control nor should be your concern . You should neither have a judgment on how ‘ appropriately ‘ the receiver is using it nor should it make you unhappy , even if you think he/ she is ‘ misusing ‘ your generosity or even is ‘ disrespecting ‘ your gift .
- Overall once done , you should be able to forget the details of the ‘ good deed ‘ you did . It should not prompt you to flaunt your ‘ generosity ‘ at any possible forum / opportunity . You should be able to sleep peacefully without a thought about what is / will happen to the object of ‘ your charity ‘ .
- For any donation / charity where above criteria are not likely to be fulfilled , you are better off without donating .
Similar is the case for investment . Your capacity to invest is not defined by your affordability or the accumulated wealth , but by your ability to ‘ carry off ‘ the investment in amount & form . That amount is appropriate for you , which after investing ( God forbid not , but should it happen ) if you happen to lose , you should have the capacity to gather yourself up & stand on your feet … you should be able to take that knock without collapsing .
Finally if you have the nature to help people ( family , friends , colleagues ) by putting in your efforts ; you need to know , what is your ‘ natural capacity ‘ to help — to what extent you can go in helping . Here are the criteria :
- Exert only up to the level you can enjoy doing that work , that it does not become physical or mental burden on you
- That you can do out of free will & not as a ‘ transaction ‘ or as a ‘ deal ‘ , not even as an investment … something you’ll not be prompted to measure ROI on
- That it does not create an expectation of ‘ reciprocity ‘ in your mind ( I did so much for him / her , I should get at least this much back )
- Your work is an expression of what you desired to do … it’s valuable & fulfillment in itself … not in comparison to someone . The quantum & quality of your work therefore is not influenced by what someone else is doing / not doing in comparison . If / at any point the comparisons are creating discomfort to lose your mental equilibrium , especially creating a feeling of ‘ unequal ’ work sharing — at the point work starts becoming a burden instead of joy – you should not extend the help you feel is a load on you .
- That if that person reciprocates , you feel good for the good nature of that person & not because he / she reciprocated in acknowledgement of your ‘ good work ‘
- It should not create / retain any ‘ attachment ‘ . Your satisfaction / happiness should come from the fact that you did what you wanted to for a good cause , your attachment ended there …. How the receiver sees it ,is neither under your control nor should be your concern . You should neither have a judgment on how appropriately the receiver ‘ responded ‘ or whether he / she remembered what you did . In fact , like a good donation , good social work should be invisible . His / her response should not make any difference to your decision to help ,in retrospect.
- Overall once done , you should be able to forget the details of the ‘ good deed ‘ you did . It should not prompt you to flaunt your ‘ help ‘ at any possible forum /opportunity . It should not create an overt expectation or a secret yearning for public or private acknowledgment