Lately, I have been mindful of the delicate balance between giving and receiving. All my life, I have been a giver, a lover, and a provider . . . and while I realize that this is my essence, I have been giving, loving, and providing, at oftentimes, at the expense of caring for myself.
At the same time, I have traditionally not asked for what I want, and I eventually came to a place where I wasn’t even sure what I enjoyed, and what I wanted or needed in my relationships and in my self-care.
Somewhere along the way, I learned to put others before myself, and learned to depend on others needing me, approving of me, and appreciating all I do in order to feel worthy. This is a tricky and painful way to exist for many reasons, but here are just a few of the sneaky beliefs that live on the underbelly of such a model:
- when we depend on others for self-worth and peace, we don’t learn to be in touch with our inner resources–those that do not depend on outer circumstances and other people
- we need to learn how to be okay without others liking us, approving of us, or being what we want them to be–we need to live from the inside out rather than the outside in
- we mistakenly set up expectations about how we want others to react to our giving, and if they do not meet these expectations, it can lead to resentment from both
- others may feel manipulated by our actions, but may not be sure why they feel this way–it’s confusing
- we rob the people in our lives the opportunities to give to us, and to get in touch with what they need, especially when we speculate what they need (note: we make up this information)
- we rob ourselves from learning about receiving
- our relationships become out of balance and may not be sustainable as a result
- we emotionally crash and burn after a while because of our own depletion
- this cycle is repetitive, unhealthy, and ultimately, a self-fulfilling prophecy that needs to be interrupted and healed
While I do believe in “paying it forward,” as Kiyosaki writes above, we must practice self-care and love, and then care and give from a place of overflow rather than sacrificing until our love tanks are on empty (for amazing perspective, read Chapman’s The 5 Languages of Love).
Somewhere along the way, I missed this crucial part of what it means to truly LOVE–to give freely with no expectations, and to accept others for who they are without projecting onto them my beliefs about who they should be
If I truly want to be loved, seen, and heard–with all my imperfections–I wish to grant the very same to the people I love (and maybe to the people I don’t really like so much, too? But that’s another blog).
Dana Lynne Curry, Ph.D., has been teaching middle school English (with no low bun) for over 23 years. She is a gReaT-fuL Writer, Storyteller, Teacher, Student, Irreverent GoofBall, Blogger, Servant, Philosopher, Spiritual Collagist (is that a word?), Mama, LoVer of LiFe!, Amazing Friend, and one cOOL pUsSy caT!! Find Dana at funfreeME and on Twitter @funfreeMe1.