This past Saturday, I was a guest speaker at the Journey to a F.A.T. Free Life Women’s Conference. The conference was to help women on their weight loss journey free of fear, anger, and turmoil. One of the topics we touched upon was over giving.
Many of us have been raised to be nurturers and givers. We may have been taught that to receive a gift or a compliment was considered selfish or vain. Giving to others was selfless and good. The issue with this way of thinking is that we learn not to care for ourselves with the same passion as we care for others. We put ourselves last on the list of priorities. When we make ourselves a priority in our day, whether going to exercise, feeding our bodies nutritious and healthy foods, getting a mani/pedi, or getting adequate sleep, we are better able to give to others. Learning to receive a compliment or a gesture is unselfish because it makes the person giving us that compliment or gesture happy as well.
Sometimes when we over give of ourselves, our time, our resources, we may make the other person feel uncomfortable as he/she may not know how to reciprocate in kind. While giving is not a competition, if you give more than someone knows how to give back, it may make the other person feel inadequate, frustrated, or even resentful. You may even feel used or unappreciated if you don’t receive a similar or like gesture.
My family has always been very generous of themselves, so it’s no surprise that I picked up that learned behavior. However, my over giving led to frequent bouts of unhappiness when someone didn’t think to treat me in the same manner. Most times, it was not because they did not care about me but rather that they did not grow up with family who behaved in the way mine did. Some people disappeared from my life. I couldn’t understand why they did when I treated them like “gold.” But what I came to learn was that those people may have felt uncomfortable with my overly generous nature and knew they did not know how to reciprocate so they vanished instead.
So, how do you stop over giving in order to be happier in life?
- Make yourself a priority. Treat yourself as well as you treat others. Exercise, eat right, and carve out time to do things that make you happy. When you are happy and healthy both mentally and physically, you are better able to serve others.
- Stop over giving. Give of yourself with someone’s permission. While you think what you are doing may be a really nice gesture, it may not be received in the manner it was intended.
- Give without expectation. When you give freely without expecting reciprocity, life becomes easier and happier. When you expect to be treated exactly as you treat others, you may become bitter, unhappy, and hurt. Remember, not everyone was raised in the same manner you were. They may not have the tools or resources to give in kind.
Letting go of over giving is liberating for you and those you love. Remember, the person you should be over giving to is yourself. Doing so will lead you to a more balanced and happy life.