Can you give too much of yourself?
Some may disagree with the fact there are limitations to giving; the ultimate act of altruism, if you are giver, you are also revered.
Giving is no doubt a loving act, but it can also be attached to something else; expectations, pay backs, look at me, I’m a giving person syndrome, I don’t have to look at myself, and resentment towards those who do not give the same in return.
Please do not mistake me for condemning acts of kindness, I am a firm believer of them, but the kind of giving that is done from deep within, where there are strings attached, that is pure giving.
This uncontaminated giving, comes from within your heart, there is felt sense of calm and love, where there is no need to return the favour.
All of you have given at some point, sometimes it leaves a feeling of warmth, yet there are times your gut and chest tightens, and a slight tensing of the jaw, not because you don’t want to give but you ache to say ‘no’ sometimes.
Saying ‘no’ can simply mean you are at your whits end of giving, you are depleted, and there is nothing more to give; your giving well has dried up.
How do you know if your giving is harming or helping you?
Feel in; notice the sensations of the body, it will tell you. Your body is your teacher, it does not lie, your body may start with a warm and fuzzy feeling, but with time it begins to harden, constructing a shell around your heart and lungs.
When giving creates constriction of your breath and your heart, there is no longer room for giving, it feels more like you are being taken; you are being taken advantage of, used, or treated as a doormat then giving is not benefitting you.
Let us be honest, we have all been there, some of us keep playing the role of the giver, until we collapse from fatigue and anger, get sick, or stop giving altogether.
Once a giver it is extremely difficult to stop, because the people you surround yourself with are expecting you to give, they have become takers (often innocently).
If you put your hand up and say “no more”, you risk being told you are selfish, a tight wad, measly and wrapped up in self. All givers need to hear are these words to find themselves back to playing the giver again.
A giver and taker base their identity and needs on sustaining these roles.
Your friends, family and colleagues, will often speak of you with admiration,
“She is so lovely, she is always giving”, or “I wish I was more like him”, the ego gets stroked elevating you to the top of the pedestal of giving.
Why is it that givers wrestle with the idea of absolving this role?
If you have ever been on a pedestal, where people look up to you with awe, you know deep within, that the only place left is down. All you need to say is “no”, or ‘ I am sorry, I can’t”, then your position of loftiness, ceases to exist.
Even the people, who are closest to you, find it difficult for you to reach out your hand and say no more, because they will have to stop taking; the roles may be reversed.
Giving is a virtue, straight from the heart, though if you give too much, your giving transforms into poison, poison for you and others.
In answering the question, can you give too much of yourself?
How would know?
Turn and look inside, when giving are your feeling irritated, annoyed, tired, overwhelmed, maybe you are getting physically sick. You can also tell when your inner voice is screaming, ‘no’, as you speak the words, ‘yes’.
Ask yourself are the people in my life takers? Do I ask for help? Are my family members thriving and are they dependent on me? Am I afraid to say ‘no’?
If your giving exasperates you, then take a pause from giving. Start cultivating your own lovingkindness, first towards yourself.
When ready, start giving again, but these times use your body sense as your barometer.
Always pause before offering your time, simply tell that person, ‘ I will get back to you’. These are 5 simple words that provide you with the space to listen in and make the decision, which is best for you and those around you.
Can you give too much?
Recipe: Giving Meditation
This meditation offers you an opportunity to create a pause before you agree to help someone.
Close your eyes; take 3 deep breaths or more if necessary
Once calm and relaxed
Notice which are the most prevalent emotions in regards to this request, if they are pleasant, soft and there is no tightness around the heart or solar plexus, that might indicate you continue on helping.
If you get the opposite, unpleasant feelings and physical tension, then rethink the plan to help.
Ask your body, “ If I were to help ______, how would I feel?”
Observe your breathing, the body experience, where tension arises in the body.
This is a sign that you either have limited energy to give or it is giving to a person who takes.
Be careful not to analyse, remain in the body
Beware of should’s, musts and have to’s statements
Open your eyes, and either try again, offer your help or say ‘sorry, I am unable to’ full stop, with no need to explain.
This is about self-care and love for those around you.