Confessions From The Underbelly Of Giving

6Dana Lynne Curry_9508[1]“Whenever you feel ‘short’ or in need of something,
give what you want first and it will come back in buckets. 
That is true for money, a smile, love, friendship. 
I know it is often the last thing a person may want to do,
but it has always worked for me.
I just trust that the principle of reciprocity is true,
and I give what I want.”
~ Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad 

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.

  • Susanne Bulten

    So true! If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this to my facebook page.

    • Onelove15

      TDL has a FB page, with these blogs, which you can sign up for your ‘daily doses of love n there as well’

      IF you go to the top of the blog, on this page, and click FB LIKE, it will pop up how it will show, and you can make a comment also.

      They show up on my timeline daily, which then my friends and family do see as well. It is shortened, w/o the entire blog, so you maybe would have to comment or copy and paste in a comment section to show the entire blog, but I love it, because I also see posts by Chris and other people pop up once in awhile. I’m not sure if you knew this or not, but just wanted to share in case you didn’t . Have a wonderful, loving day


  • Sarah

    Really it’s all about no longer running from our own hearts…..why do we run? Fear which is false and ego keep giving us illusions…why do I listen? Why do I believe the lies? Habit and by default. The book “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer is helping me. Courage still building….
    I commend you Mastin for your brave words and bold applications for truth. The truth that will set us all free….I needed this today…exactly where I find myself today…I will try your suggestions Mastin….Keep shining your light in the darkness….Light them up!!

  • Nickita

    Thank you Mastin! Such a beautiful summary of the best-working principles to stay sane… The only things I would add are positive thinking/affirmations, appreciation and learning to listen to and trust my intuition. Thanks for the complete list, love it!

  • Lisa

    I really like your comparison of addiction and running from your uncomfortable feelings. I also agree with your suggestion to enlist the aid of a mentor/therapist/coach, especially for those with a tendency to ruminate and catastrophize; an objective person to recognize if someone is becoming depressed or anxious would be invaluable. Thanks again for your wonderful insights.

  • Onelove15

    As ALWAYS, Mastin has a way of delivering a message which is so needed at this VERY moment! I DO this all the time, and have been since as far back as I can remember. I RUN, I HIDE, I COVER UP, I don’t know what if FEELS LIKE TO FEEL!! I went through a outpatient program about a year ago, voluntarily, for 5 wks, and as I progressed through the program, It allowed me to FEEL again. I’ll NEVER forget the first time i felt something: I was driving home from a meeting, and the Song ‘I won’t give up,” By Jason Mraz, came on the radio. IDK why, but I cried like a baby. The tears just wouldn’t stop rolling down my beautiful, blue eyes! I didn’t know why, where it was coming from, but I knew I was feeling something, anything! This was a bout 2wks into the program.

    I love the list Mastin gave. However, It’s easier to read the list and know, these are things I SHOULD be doing. It’s a LONG list! 🙂 I am a smoker, that’s been the most difficult for me to quit, I take medications for anxiety, depression,…, I can’t just STOP all of sudden w/o my body have some w/d or reaction without feeling ill. So instead, I will take the list, DO the things I can, even if one at a time, go to my physician w/ the list, and express to him, these are what I ‘feel’ are necessary to make me whole. BUT, if I slip up in any way, stop taking the medication I am on to remain sober, I WILL, or maybe not, relapse, and I DO NOT want that again for my life. IT WAS A LIVING HELL!!!

    SO AGAIN, I will do, one or two steps at a time, and make it goal of mine to continue to fulfill the list w/ my Doctor as I know Mastin wouldn not want anyone to do anything to harm anyone w/o consulting w/their phyisican first..ESPECIALLY if they are brand new to RECOVERY. That is a very vulnerable time! I am not NEW to recovery, but I have not been do MY PART AS I SHOULD!!

    SO, again, Thank you Mastin, for re-opening my eyes, to what my role is, my obligation to myself, in my recovery, and to my life, and feelings in general. So things on the list I have already began, The rest is to be continued…


  • Mridu

    Mastin, I don’t know how you continue to come up with some amazing stuff day after day. You have such a gift! Thank you. – Mridu

  • Kathleen Chelquist

    And I will add: BE VULNERABLE in the MOMENT.

    I just posted a “Sundays With Cinnamon” today about Cinnamon’s daughter, Joy Hopkins, going through a very vulnerable moment: 2 hours after cutting her HAIR! Talk about an addiction!

    I cut my hair in January, and I could not believe how hard it was to do. I have found when I share my vulnerabilities, LIVE…I get through the addiction much FASTER. Who knew? I did not do this on purpose “thinking” it would help me, but it did. It’s much easier sharing my “so-called” weaknesses after the fact, but in the moment? Forget about it, as I hid under my blanket, never to see the light of day.

    Until, I did. Oh YEAH! That’s the ticket to freedom. Being real, raw, and revealing in the eye of the storm, gets you to at least see some scattered clouds with rays of sunshine.

    And then, it gets easier. And easier. And before you know it, you wake up and see that the SUN was there all along.

    The Daily Commenter,

  • Marceyy

    Thanks, Mastin! I am going to print this out and keep it. I quit an addiction one year ago next week, and started having panic attacks soon after quitting, simply because I didn’t know any other way to cope with emotions! A 12 step program really helped, but I finished the steps, and was wondering just this morning, what do I do now?? You have a knack for posting just what I need to hear 🙂

  • catherine warlich

    As always,thank you for the empowering and beautiful advice! Love from Connecticut XO

  • Tamisha LaShae

    I am very greatful for the vibration that caused me to read this article at this time , in my life. This is a huge step for me….but a must do asap!

  • Ashley

    This is a great article! I will definitely be sharing with my coaching clients. Ashley

  • Allison

    Beautiful message.

  • Elizabeth Spevack

    Wonderful article! I never used to think about everyone being addicted to something, but the more I hear about it, the more I can see it. Whenever we try to numb ourselves away from feeling what we’re feeling in the moment or we try to hide it/push it away/repress it/suppress it, we are going for a momentary high and not long-term gain.

  • Kasey Huff

    There are messages and codes, unlocked, inside the natural digestion of our feelings. Our soul Self communicates with us through our feelings.I don’t want to be afraid of the fear/pain any longer and I don’t want to be ashamed of the fear or insecurity! I am getting this–I am dedicated to recovering wholeness, pure honesty and empowerment!! We are an anchor of healing light when we allow ourselves to get honest and vulnerable. We liberate ourselves and others. On some level we are all sensing the divine process taking place.

    I’ve been wondering today and yesterday, Is it possible to have very low self esteem and still have loads of self love? (my fear seems to be highly related to my low self esteem, but at the same time I have nothing but love and gentleness for myself during this purging process).

  • Holly

    Love it!!! Thank you!!

  • Deanna

    My first time reading. Very timely. Your message was written just for me. Thank you.

  • Anne (from The Netherlands)

    Thank you Mastin for this lovely message. Just what I needed.

    Two days ago I just hit a large bump in the road. Pffff….I feel so sad and depressed. But the praise is that after 33 years of ignoring my own feelings and being there for all my friends and family, I gave myself this present. I brake down and asked for help! My boyfriend just said: “Talk darling. You are safe. Share what you feel.”

    I almost do not know how to show my true emotions. With all the tough moments in my life, I always smiled and told myself to be strong. There were already enough worries in the lives of my family and friends. I had to be strong and continue.

    Yesterday I broke down and told my parents my fears and my anxiety. My mind and heart got finally my attention. I feel like a mess. But I made the first step to ask for help….after 33 years I can show that I am a human too….It will take a while, but I met my true heart, my true love inside. My brain deserves my fullest lovely attention. No more stress and ignorance. Love!

  • Iva

    Thank you for this. I am that person who gives and has not embraced the art of receiving and feel the repercussions of it. It is an amazing balance of self-worth to give and receive because we need to be full to do both. Thank you.

    • danalynnecurry

      SO glad these words resonated with you.


    Thankyou so so much Dana says this man from down under! What a day of revelations before work. I have been blinbded by myself working to many hours lately(14-16 hour days) to distract myself I believe from the emotional challenges I had. I’ve been on my new spiritual apprenticeship this year & at the start I embaced it like a zealot to my demise as I become “too enlightened and all knowing” as I went to so many activities and classes, so many things that I was doing every day 8 days a week lol, then I calmed down & started to become a more stable man on my path, only to loose hope in reconnecting woith the woman I lost who I still love, we have no contact, or I should sayt cat and mouse tic for tat on the internet when we somehow come across each other lol. Fate, Karma & God has funny ways to have those degrees of separation. That was a sign for me to repair, admit, forgive honestly & forget the hurts & earn each others(me more than her) trust back. I failed now I look at it & it does more than hurt, to loose who you love most as I have been in love before yet nothing compared to her. I drained her tanks emotionally so to speak as my father’s imminent death consumed me which I’m still recovering from. I smile as the bugger had to choose that time in my life when it was my happiest I had ever been. SO I lost two people I love most in this world, & my mother still see’s me as a ghost as I’m his reflection being his son, to top that off my ( year old Harvey boy…my Bull Mastiff my mother has kept for comfort as she is lonely yet once more what about me…to take my surrogate son as I call him away from me. I have let her look after him as I wish to see my mother become better. What a painful life learning year I’d not rather have & all because I care for my parents much, they drained my tanks & then I drained me ex-partners’ tanks so she justifiably left to protect her more than loving heart which now i do see why, I have said it before just now I DO BELIEVE IT. To loose three people, four if you include my dog which I do as he is part of my tribe/family metaphorically speaking is no easy thing for a person to go through?

    So this is me paying it FORWARD TO HER in HONOURING & RESPECTING HER after all this time that has past & for the first time I can use it a word meaning every bit if it, WITH INTEGRITY for what we once had TRUE LOVE. That I helped more than end what was for me simply the most sensational 9 best memorable months in my 36 years of life!!! YES that’s right that short yet the most explosive depth defying wondrous loving times I have had to date & shall endeavour to remember why,what,when so I can treasure them…Not even a 14 year previous relationship(I had a couple in between so no it was not a rebound thing)! came close to how she & I made each other feel, the connection was simply divine! GOD BLESS HER. There is no other way I can say or put it. She may read this one day & I send this in prayer from afar wherever she maybe,my spiritual guide, she who I define as LOVE itself & deep down I shall always be grateful for the time we shared during the seasons in life. I miss her like she’ll never believe.

    • danalynnecurry

      Sounds like you have come full circle and let go . . . and when we set things free, we open up a space for our highest good!
      Blessings on your journey . . . it sounds intense, but we are never given what we cannot handle!