Photo Credit: Riz Mooney, Unsplash.com

Written by Raluca Gomeaja
April 29, 2020

I hear you, you’re a giver.

You fuel yourself on the “joy of giving.”

You’re here to serve.

Even the idea of giving less makes you uncomfortable–like you’d be cutting out a part of yourself. This is how natural and important taking care of others is to you.

You’re a doctor, a nurse, an assistant, a coach . . . your whole life’s dedicated to helping others. Giving is second nature to you.

How many of you recognize yourself in this statement, or know someone who perfectly matches this description?

This post is for you.

While many givers equate the joy of giving as one of their core values, not all of them are aware of the impact that this may have on themselves personally in the long run.

Yes, giving provides a sense of fulfillment, of peace, of doing what’s right, and it makes total sense. Most givers are spending their entire life adding value to others, which can’t be done for such a prolonged period of time without a clear feeling of “it’s worth it.”

Nonetheless, allow me to take a closer look for a moment. As a giver, what are your frustrations? What are your wounds, your pains? What are your own needs and how do you take care of them?

Are you even aware of your own needs? Take a moment to reflect . . .

Do you have a list of frustrations? Do you have a list of your needs? Do you have a list of wishes?

Why not? Is this because you never take time for yourself? Is it because everything seems okay–like you can take it–and perhaps God made you stronger than other people in order to do so? You’re never a victim, you’re the one that takes care of others, right?

Now, while all these are beautiful sentiments, here are some downsides to this model . . .

The Downsides of Giving

We are all energetic forms. We’re made of energy and we communicate energy. This is the way we engage through life and exchange with others.

There are available tests that help an individual to understand what their day-to-day energy level is; awareness tools that allow one to see not only how much energy they spend daily, but what potential they may have, and more importantly what happens with this energy under stress.

We deal with energy levels from one to seven in this model. For a giver, the main energy is level four. While this is a beautiful energy, tests reveal that almost anyone with a primary energy level four (the giver) is experiencing a lot of energy level one (the victim) under stress.

This is explained by a very human characteristic: no matter how much we give without looking for any returns, when all that we give ends up unappreciated, taken for granted, or not seen at its real value, it’s only normal to feel disappointed.

Another effect is tied to the fact that while giving one’s energy can be nourishing, human’s aren’t an endless fountain of resources. Energy must be replenished. Any person needs to rest and recover, so a giver also has to recharge. When that’s not done sufficiently, the energy available to give away becomes smaller and smaller–but most givers feel they have no choice but to give away all they’ve got.

The giver keeps giving, and different forms of tiredness slowly but steadily begin to take shape as a mental, physical, and emotional fatigue. Once that’s occurred it becomes much more difficult to manage and sleep may no longer be sufficient enough for a full recharge.

Finally, as humans, we’re looking for love and appreciation. We’re also afraid to be rejected (which is one of our major fears). Even when they’re not necessarily aware of it, a giver has often a subconscious feeling of deserving love. They often believe that the more they give and do the right thing, the more people will appreciate and recognize them as worthy of love.

A giver can give away tons of energy, and provided someone gives back even one tiny gram in return, the giver may feel fulfilled, and find a reason to keep going. Yet, over time, even those small gestures tend to become rare (or completely absent) and more often than not, people will take a giver’s support for granted.

It’s considered normal for the giver to give and for the taker to receive without providing anything in return. But that presses hard on an “unfair” button, which can lead to sadness or anger (or both).

When givers stop giving–even for a short while–they tend to feel guilt; moreover, people in their entourage will complain and behave like a victim, blaming the givers that they no longer care, resulting in making the giver feel guilty and powerless. That’s a very dangerous place to be as guilt and powerlessness are (in the long run) two of the most destructive feelings for any person.

The risk, or price to pay, is usually bigger than expected. In time, that tiredness can seriously affect an individual. The frustration may turn into physical pains or illnesses, or even depression and burnouts. The lack of connection that most givers have with their own body, ends up costing them far more than they imagine.

“What will happen next?” When we think about it, this is the paradox: the actions givers have taken for so long may end up not serving their initial goal of “making a difference for others.”

So maybe there’s a different way to achieve this goal.

The key is always in the balance.

Five Examples of What “Effective Givers” / “Successful People” Do:

  1. The less they’re obsessed with giving, the more fluent/balanced the giving is, and even more, is actually appreciated and valued. The tip is: when they don’t have something to give, they don’t force it. They’re okay with not giving everything all the time as they know the next day will bring other opportunities for them to manifest their value of giving.
  2. The less they are attached to the outcome, recognition, or gratitude, the less they get affected by the result of their own actions. In other words, they’re focused on the journey, on the intention, on doing their best in the moment, not on what effect that will have on the people receiving it. They know they can’t control how others receive what they give and what they do with it, the only thing they can control is their own actions and reactions. 
  3. They learn how to retreat and recharge. When they feel frustration, they admit they need help as well; that they’re not superhumans, nor robots. They reach in, take it out, clean it off, and move on. The best way to do so is by working with a professional coach. These professionals are trained not to judge and not to absorb other’s energy. These givers know when they need help and aren’t afraid to admit it or to ask for it.
  4. They’re connecting to their own body, mind, soul. and spirit. They listen to themselves first. Their high awareness allows them to take care of themselves without feeling associated guilt. The tip here is they welcome emotions, validate them as being normal to have, and take care of themselves through meditations, rest, walks–things that allow them to disconnect from others–and connect to themselves.
  5. They’re not afraid to stay still. Most givers seem to be in constant movement; rushing, running, doing endless numbers of activities in parallel with their already extremely heavy days. They may realize that while calming their mind may not be an easy thing to do (most thoughts are associated with loss of time and achievement, or how their absence is causing people problems) the practice may allow them to face the fact that no one’s irreplaceable, a thought that’s particularly hard for a giver (who typically feels that without giving they are worthless); but mostly it will allow them to be far more efficient. So instead they practice short “unplug” moments, where they observe more than they do.

One final thought: there’s nothing that will force a person to give up on their own beliefs, their core values, their own reality, and truth, and this article isn’t about doing that. A person changes based on what’s meaningful to them.

There’s nothing wrong with any goals, visions, dreams. At the same time, when the action plan to get there may be the exact source of not achieving it, one may want to try a different path. What if this new path won’t only allow reaching the goal–but as a bonus–it’ll allow a true manifestation of plenitude and purpose, every single time . . .

To all the givers out there, we’re fully grateful for your gift. It may now be the right time to learn to indulge in receiving back. Not only will that be good for you, but it’ll also allow you to better serve others. And in that way, the circle will be complete.

Photo Credit: Riz Mooney, Unsplash.com

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