Giving Too Much, Disabling Your Enabling

Giving Too Much

I know what you’re thinking, how could someone be guilty of giving TOO much. For a person who believes in and practices volunteerism on a weekly basis how could I even think such a thing. But it’s true. I’m using the word “giving” and you are interpreting that word to make sense to you. There are many forms of giving and we are going to explore those tonight; the healthy and the unhealthy. Everything in life needs balance. When you swing too far in any direction there can be consequences.

Everything in moderation, even moderation! We are going to look at giving from a couple of different angles. Let’s first start by understanding the difference between giving freely and giving with conditions. 

To give freely means you are looking for nothing in return. You give, be it money, time, labor, love without expecting a return on your investment. You don’t check up on the gift after it’s been given or even consider the course it will take. It’s none of your business, once given, it’s no longer your concern.  You give out of love and understanding. You give just to give. 

Giving with conditions looks quite a bit different. You give in order to get… validation, praise, respect, debt, control…etc. You give with instructions. If the outcome doesn’t suit your liking you shame or guilt the receiver. You keep tabs or score. You expect a return on your investment. You give to get. 

That may seem harsh but let’s get out the flashlight and point it into the corners of our minds. Can you remember a situation that you gave with conditions? It’s easier than you think. 

With those definitions, let’s look at these “harmless” quotes meant to inspire, but now with a new lens. Think of a person who does lose themselves in the process and is willing to give everything they have to get what they want.

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ―H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ―Anne Frank

“We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.” ―Orison Swett Marden

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ―Charles Dickens

“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Gandhi

Now, this show is not to deter you from giving but instead, give you some perspective on the balance needed to successfully give and receive.

I used to think I was just super helpful, a great friend, a good child, a caring coworker, a cool Mom. It took me many years, lots of soul searching, and some expert advice to realize being a people pleaser is not a good thing. That my helpfulness at times was a way to control, that my advice, even though very helpful and insightful was unwarranted and intrusive. That was a revelation that was hard to swallow. I didn’t believe it the first time I heard it so I discounted it and went along making mistake after mistake until it clicked… had to. 

But I’m just being helpful…you see I’ve already done this or that and I just want to make sure that person isn’t making the same mistakes I made. If they would just take my advice and start doing this or that everything would be perfect. Does any of that sound familiar? 

I identify with the characteristics of co-dependency. The topic tonight is not meant to lead you to the same conclusion we are merely going on a discovery. Being self-aware of your actions and reactions can help you make better choices and ultimately achieve a better balance which is what we’re all striving for. 

I lead a women’s empowerment group called Women Connect. There are two chapters and one of them is for in-patient women at a rehab facility. In this meeting, we work on finding our voice, creating healthy boundaries, harnessing our power, forgiving failure, and finding our happy place. All of these women come from unhealthy relationships with spouses, partners, family members, and children.  If they don’t change their role and responsibility, they won’t have a shot at success. We talk about strengthening our core. I have them visualize a tree, with a weak trunk, as a result, it’s branches are weak and so are its roots. Now imagine hanging things from the branches of an unhealthy tree. It couldn’t possibly support the weight. The work they do to accept responsibility, forgive themselves, and let go of the past, will help them move forward with a healthier self-concept and stronger core.

Things I’ve learned on my journey of self-discovery:

  • I do not have all the answers
  • Not everyone needs or wants my advice
  • The only person I have control over is myself 
  • Love means letting people learn 
  • I’m worthy just the way I am
  • I deserve it ALL

How could you possibly practice self-care, set goals, and focus on your wants, needs, and desires when you are busy taking care of everyone else. Lift your self-imposed responsibility and you will instantly propel yourself forward. 

Being willing to give of yourself is such a wonderful attribute.  As I said in the beginning, everything in moderation. Look at your giving and be honest about your intentions. Nurturing the cape and saving the world is not healthy and not your job. Everyone has a life to lead, some or most will make a bad decision here and there. Lessons are learned when we go through the process of righting the wrong. That’s a journey we all need to make on our own time and at our own pace. 

CHALLENGE: Channel this energy in a positive direction that strengthens your core. Give freely and give of yourself to yourself, first. Be willing to share, learn, and grow while allowing others to do the same. 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

One thought on “Giving Too Much, Disabling Your Enabling

  1. I think this is good advice for everyone. There are different reasons to give. Love is the most important but we do need to be careful of how, when , and where. Everyone needs encouragement.

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