I have a confession to make. I’ve been fooling you.
I have prided myself as being a ‘giver’. I would give and give – whether it be at work, with friends or romantic partners. Oftentimes I would feel like I was over giving which would lead to resentment. I would feel that people were ‘taking’ too much from me and I would feel exhausted and hurt. However, as I started to peel back the layers of my ‘giving’ I realized that many times, I was not giving – I was overcompensating.
“I am not enough.”
This is the subconscious storyline that I believed my entire life. This wound was the basis of much of my behavior – from overachieving at work, to over-giving in relationships to prove my worthiness so I could win validation and love. But there was no amount of success, no accolades, credit or compliments that could ever fill my insatiable need to feel worthy. I’ve now realized that feeling enough is an inside game – it comes from accepting yourself fully and being your own source of love and abundance.
“Control makes me safe.”
This is another storyline I subconsciously believed. Giving enabled me to stay in control, because receiving requires vulnerability. If I kept my power position as a giver, I would never have to fully be vulnerable. This is a defense mechanism to avoid pain. The root of this is fear. I’ve fooled you in thinking I am this giving person, when often, I was unconsciously covering up my insecurities and fear.
As you can see, not all giving is created equal, as there are different roots of “giving”. The gift may appear the same on the outside, but the root of that gift creates completely different energy.
- You can give from a place of insecurity – where you are overcompensating so that you earn validation.
- You can give from a place of scarcity – where there is a mental accounting system of what someone owes you because of what you’ve done for them. This breeds entitlement.
- You can give from a place of abundance, where the root is from a place of love. Regardless of how the person receives it – even if you don’t get credit… you give anyway, because, love. You are not trying to earn anything, get something back or keep a tab.
When you give in order to earn/prove something, or from a place of getting something back (a desired reply that will make you feel good, a future invite, gift or favor), you are not giving – you are withdrawing energy. Over-giving is often disguised anxiety or an attempt to be in control.
When you give from a place of love, of truly not expecting anything in return, you make a deposit of energy. This is a healthy space where you can give and receive from a place of abundance which creates a flow of energy. It feels inspiring, alive and vibrant.
Understanding the different roots of giving has enabled me to be more aware of when I’m giving from a place of wounding/fear, or from a place of abundance. I do a check-in with myself, and if my “gift” is rooted in the former, I stop and reassess. I am also practicing receiving, which is uncomfortable, because it requires me to be vulnerable. Since I’m all the way on one side of the pendulum labelling myself as a prideful “giver’ – my first step has been to stop identifying as giving, and instead, identify with being receptive. We subconsciously create situations that will confirm our beliefs, and if I start identifying with being receptive, I will draw in more experiences that enable me to experience that. My intention is to swing back to the middle, and be balanced in both giving and receiving.
It’s a lot easier to point the finger of blame at someone else for your emotional experience. In the case of over-giving – it might seem obvious to blame others for taking too much or not being appreciative. But remember, you create that experience. If you’re unaware of the wounds behind your behavior and emotions, you will constantly be blaming external factors for your feelings. You can eliminate the factors that trigger you, but that doesn’t remove the wound. The self-victimization (I feel like this because you did or did not do this), only distracts you from focusing your energy on healing the wound that keeps getting triggered.
Photo by Imani Clovis