Giving is a beautiful part of life. But sometimes our ability to give to others should be looked at with extra care. Why? Because in this world there are givers and takers, then something in between. As unhealthy relationships unfold they many times are marked by the parties splitting into giver and taker roles. Perfectly matched in dysfunction never realizing the value of equilibrium within self.
Giver Mindset Bashret: an ideal partner.
As a giver, they may not feel their own worth unless they give to others. They are defined by it. Relationships are about the work they put in–the sacrifices they make. Why would someone love them, much less like them, if they aren’t doing something to earn that love?
Taker Mindset Bete Noire: a person to be avoided.
Takers feel love when others support them in any and every way. They think their partner doesn’t love them unless they are able to prove it–showing them again and again. Anyone’s value is based off of their giving literally until it hurts. If the well runs dry then, “What’s the point of continuing the relationship?”
What a perfect fit! Symbiotic relationship at its finest. Right? Well maybe in an unhealthy way. Doesn’t life have more in store for you than that? If all people were giving and taking equally, in perfect harmony, wouldn’t well being reign?
Consider the thought that if the givers were completely depleted and the takers left unfulfilled. The very fabric of our community stemmed from these type of relationships falls apart. A better world for everyone involved would be if we evolved our ideology of giving and taking, by reforming it into a fulfilling, maintainable and equally beneficial one of healthy, conscious coexistence.
If you are in an unhealthy relationship with a taker that drains your well being with a family member, friend or work peer, it is not easy to make change happen right away. Start by putting some pure-giver training wheels on to get you going. Ideally, look at daily events from a new perspective. Figure out how to give in a way that benefits everyone involved.
A Tale of Two Givers
This personal story illustrates the positive byproducts around reorienting our thoughts on giving. Ironically, both people in this story are givers not takers.
My brother Trek is a giver. Yes, that’s his real name. He is the person who hands out donuts to the Venice homeless on Christmas day. Trek believes in compassion and supporting one’s community to a fault. Especially when someone lent him a hand previously, he cannot sit by without offering the same in return. Basically, he loves to give to others.
Well, a friend who helped him move years before was getting into a new place and gave Trek a call. As luck would have it, Trek’s back had been causing pain him for quite awhile, which made him nervous about lifting heavy objects. There was no doubt he’d just jump in and haul what was asked. One of the first things they did was pick up a large mattress.
Pow! Trek herniated a disc. Meaning surgery and years of chronic physical pain. A significant set back in his overall well being. Plus, think about how his friend felt who now had there very own level of emotional pain knowing that Trek was hurt.
What if a different approach was taken with this moment of giving?
If Trek had looked at his 4 quadrants of well being, he would see that his lowest area was physical so that was a no go. While his highest zone was mental; a green light to give. Here is how this tale of woe would turn into a tale of wow.
When Trek’s friend called he could’ve said, “You know my back is almost out, but I am the best darn box labeler you have ever seen.” All would be moved safe and sound with a celebratory drink a the end.
Do you think his friend would tell him that the level of help offered isn’t enough? If he did, maybe Trek’s help wouldn’t have been fully appreciated anyway. Not being true to one’s self never produces authentic results.
What this story and countless others illuminate is the value of finding a way to bring your own well being into check–not only for your own good, but the greater good as well. No doubt giving is good for you. But you can also see how mindfulness in combination with getting some perspective can not only eliminate the worry that goes along with giving decisions, but also give you a better path to increase the health of your well being. When you give to others without attachment is purer bringing more value to the act itself.
The moral of the story? Next time simply pause before you raise your hand. Think about your well being and give from the part of your self you are truly free to give from.