The Law of the Gift

I recently came across the phrase "the Law of the Gift." The phrase was coined by John Paul II.

According to John Paul II, there are two paths toward self-fulfillment and self-actualization.

On the one hand we can act with self-assertion, centering and privileging our own needs and concerns. By contrast, and paradoxically, the Law of the Gift says that you become more fully human, alive, and yourself to the extent that you give yourself away. You self-actualize by becoming other-focused.

In the words of Bishop Robert Barron, the Law of the Gift can be formulated this way: "Your being increases in the measure that you give it away. Your being decreases in the measure that you cling to it."

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