Some of us focus a lot on the needs of others that we struggle to take care of ourselves. We are told to be a kind person from being a child, and we believe that in order to be a good friend, mother, wife, daughter, employee, that we must give, and give. When we give too much to others, we tend to keep giving even when we don’t really have the time, money or energy to offer. We forget that it’s our job to teach others how to treat us. We give more than we should, and we could end up sending the wrong message to people around us. We need to understand that being kind is a virtue, but it’s also important to tell others what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to expect from us.
I believe that the feeling of satisfaction we get by giving can be quite addictive. If you are a naturally kind person, you probably started showing your generosity from childhood. The problem about being generous is that the joy of the moment, plus the guilt of saying no to others, can lead you to be over generous. You can get used to give to others to the point of damaging your own circumstances. So, is it possible to be kind, and at the same time, understand what can be given away and what can’t? The answer is yes, I truly believe that you can have an open heart and also boundaries. That’s when you find balance in life and in your relationships.
You have to understand that your good intentions is not enough to help someone. When you offer help, you should be a smart giver, not a self-sacrificing one. You should help keeping in mind that your help should encourage the other person’s potential, growth and independence. Many of the problems we face in life happens because our relationships becomes out-of-balance, where someone is giving a lot and the other is taking, but no one is setting boundaries. From an early age we’re taught that what goes around comes around. So, at some level, you may be believing that somehow life will balance things out for you, but the truth is that giving to others does not cause others to reciprocate. Sometimes, the more you give, the more others will demand and expect from you.
Balance is only possible when you start accepting more help, accepting more compliments, and accepting more generosity. This is what healthy relationships are made of: support and concern for each other based on mutual give and take. The truth is, when you are investing more in something than normal, or you are giving too much, you are not valuing and prioritising yourself and your own needs. Maybe you believe that the excessive giving is something you need to do in order to be loved. Over-generosity is a way of attracting attention, and also a sign that you are needing love. By being always the giver, you are expressing your need for love and attention.
It’s important to understand that generosity doesn’t have to be monetary: pay attention to all your relationships, and check if you are too generous with time and attention too. Keep in mind that saying no all the time, will attract people who have little to offer, but saying yes to everything, will attract the wrong kind of people, that will take advantage of your generosity, and fail to reciprocate. Be prepared to help others as long as you don’t put the needs of others before your own. If you tend to please others all the time, start questioning yourself why you always put others first. Try to understand what is making you please others, instead of having your own needs met. Remember that your value is not in what you give to others; your giving nature is actually a very small part of the expression of who you are. You don’t need to be overly generous to feel valued and needed.
If you continually seek to please others, you may end up resenting them for expecting a lot from you. Always ask yourself if you are giving in order to hopefully receive something in return, and consider that you have a choice to give less, or not giving at all. If you are hoping to receive something in return, you may end up feeling used, victimised and resentful.
Social peace requires reciprocity, create the opportunity to receive from others as well as giving to them, and see yourself as someone worthy of receiving great things too. Learn to value yourself, allow yourself to welcome positivity and blessings into your life. You don’t need to try too hard to get the approval of others, or to make others like you. Life is about balance, you will find happiness when you allow yourself to receive as much as you push yourself to give up.