There are so many benefits to giving: personal satisfaction, mood improvement, and igniting the universal law of reciprocity – to name a few. The problem lies when you over-give.
Here are some symptoms of over-giving:
You feel burdened, tired, resentful, or exhausted
You secretly hope the other person will give something back to you
You’re starting to notice that you feel irritated around people whom you consistently give to, but whom you don’t feel give back to you (or who don’t give enough back to you)
You give out of obligation or a sense of duty (including feeling obligated to reciprocate)
As women, most of us have learned how to be giving. The question is, do you know how to give in a way that does not leave you feeling depleted and resentful? Chances are if you tend to give without bringing awareness to how it feels for you to give in that moment, you may over-give.
When you over-give, you have given beyond your capacity in the moment. As humans, our capacity to give and be generous fluctuates regularly. Don’t judge yourself if you simply “don’t have it in you” to give at any particular moment in time. Instead, when you notice any reluctance or resentment to giving to another show up, use it as an invitation to explore what you need. Know that you can only give what you have.
Here are a few tips to help you give without over-giving and cultivating resentment:
1. Pay attention to your needs. Notice how you are feeling before and after you give. Ideally, you should feel good (or at least neutral) when you give; otherwise, you’re going into “over-give.” If you experience any of the symptoms of over-giving, then it’s time to re-calibrate. Renegotiate or postpone any commitments you have made to give until you have completed the next step.
2. Give to yourself. Usually you experience symptoms of over-giving when you don’t feel cared for. Take a few minutes to figure out what YOU would like to receive. Perhaps it’s a hug, a break from household chores, or an unexpected token of appreciation. Once you determine what you would like to receive then figure out how you can give it to yourself. By doing so, you are filling your own tank, which then becomes the fuel to appropriately help another.
3. Give to others without any expectations. This can be really challenging, but it’s important. If you are giving to another with the secret hope of receiving something in return, you are being manipulative. And, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, practice giving without expectation of receiving anything in return. Focus on your own joy in giving and helping another. Be patient with yourself this takes time to cultivate.
Continue to give and be of service to others. But, don’t forget to be of service to yourself in the process. When you give, give from a place of conscious awareness. In this way, you are honoring everyone involved and you are giving from a place of true love and generosity.