I’ve had a few conversations lately that I’ve been thinking about.
A couple of weeks ago I had a couchsurfer who looked up the ‘Give Freely Receive Freely’ website (I have the website address on the back of my business card along with the addresses of several of my other websites). She said it was interesting and asked if other people were involved, and if I was trying to get other people involved. I told her what I have been doing so far, which is that if I find people doing something similar I put a link to them in the directory, but I haven’t really been trying to get people involved as such. She told me she thought more people could and would be involved if I put the effort in.
I had a new client come into my clinic recently, when I told her about my payment policy (GFRF), she told me she was familiar with this concept and would try to be comfortable with it. She also told me that she had tried using this type of payment system herself previously and had found it hard and so had given up.
I had a client who I have dealt with numerous times on a GFRF basis, although not particularly regulary, since I began my experiment with GFRF. She likes the idea but STILL finds it hard, even after – even after 2 years of intermittent contact with it. She wanted to buy some gift vouchers for someone and asked me to please just tell her a price…
So these are the recent conversations, but I have had other similar ones previously with people liking the idea but expressing discomfort with actually using it, and also with people telling me they have tried to do something similar but found it too hard and gave up.
This got me thinking… at least on a positive note I have found it encouraging to hear from people that they have liked this kind of idea so much that they have actually tried it themselves, but a bit disappointing that they had not continued with it, and also a bit frustrating that people have found it so uncomfortable even after using it for so long.
Living Inside The System
I guess I don’t really find any of this surprising though. Day to day each of us interacts with the rest of the world around us in a way very different from GFRF (for ease of reference I should probably come up with a name for the normal way people interact financially, maybe Standard Economic System – SES?, anyone have another idea? maybe leave a comment). We have so many interactions and transactions with set prices and required payment, contracts and obligations, that this shapes the way we think. Because we have to behave in this way so much of the time, we spend a lot of time thinking in this way. Much as we may like the idea of GFRF, it requires a change in mode of thinking, and this can be uncomfortable and require quite a bit of effort when you have the habit of having to interact in a different way most of the time.
Personally even after two years of using GFRF, I still find it a bit hard because while I offer it myself, most of my other interactions with people are on an SES basis and I don’t really have a choice in it, so this has a constant impact on my way of thinking. It is also difficult because I am constantly encountering peoples discomfort with it or difficulty understanding it. But I really like the way working on a GFRF basis makes me feel. I feel good about working in this way, I think it helps me to focus on the right things, the truly important things and not be distracted and diverted in the way that normal SES thinking can. I think the instinct to live the GFRF way is actually fairly common, but constant exposure to the SES makes it hard for people to see how they can do it, so they shy away from it.
I think what would help is to know and have regular contact with people who think the same way and are trying to do the same things. This means forming a community. I think this website could be part of building such a community. It could be a place to share experiences and encourage each other and remind each other of what it is about GFRF that makes us want to live that way.
I have a couple of ideas I’d like to try to make this website more interactive and a better support for people interested in GFRF.
For a start I think it would be good if there were regular new blog posts about GFRF and peoples experiences with it. I find that writing blog posts often takes me a lot of time as I try to think how I want to say things, and sometimes it is hard for me to find the time to put into writing new posts. I’d like to try writing more often though so that there are things for people to read and keep them interested. I would also like to extend an open invite to anyone else who would like to write a post for the site. It could be something simple, how GFRF makes you feel or an experience you’ve had with GFRF.
I would also like to set up a forum on the website where people can post questions and comments etc and have meaningful discussion. I have actually tried doing this already, but it didn’t quite work. I will look at it again soon, but if anyone out there has skills in setting up a forum on wordpress it would be great if you could help out.
I think if we are active in communicating with each other and supporting each other it will make it easier to stay in GFRF thinking and not relapse into SES thinking, even while surrounded by SES systems.
Interacting With The SES World
I also wonder about modifying how I practice GFRF. I do get tired of the discomfort many people have with GFRF, and I know that many people find GFRF confrontational in that it challenges some of their deeply held beliefs about how they need to act. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, I think that questioning can be productive, but its not really my aim to be confrontational.
I have been thinking along the lines of maybe offering my services at a price as per usual SES practice, but having it available on a GFRF basis for anyone who asks. The GFRF would not exactly be a secret as I mention it numerous times on my various websites, the address for this website is on my business card and so on. But I wouldn’t be confronting people with it. Those who are interested and look it up would be able to find out what it is and make use of it, those who are inclined to find it confrontational probably wouldn’t even look it up. In a sense I would be making GFRF optional. I would be providing a price so that people embedded in an SES mindset can be more comfortable using my services, while still encouraging those who ‘get’ GFRF to use this principle in dealing with me.
I am still undecided about whether I want to do this or not. I think there could be quite few benefits to operating in this way, but on the other hand I like being completely open and out there with my GFRF, I like that it encourages people to think. Also setting a price is not ideal from a pure GFRF perspective (I think I’ll have to write something about the pro’s and con’s of pricing soon).
Anyway, that is a little of what I’ve been thinking about. Leave any of your comments below, or you can email me on the contact page.