Desiring Appreciation: Most people love to feel appreciated and hate to feel taken advantage of. If I feel like I am doing a “kind gesture” for someone and don’t feel appreciated enough or perhaps the gesture becomes expected of me (rather than the act being seen as a generous gift or donation of my time), I can become resentful and withholding. My behavior can switch from extreme generosity to extremely withholding behavior. I hate this feeling and can be very ashamed of these emotions. I realize that this withholding often comes from a place of fear. If I look closer, I also realize that it’s not that I am greedy or need tons of praise to function, it’s that I have a deep desire to feel safe. Once something is expected of me, I might fear that there will be no limit to this expectation and that all my resources (time, energy, items, ect…) will be taken from me. I might begin to think that it is nowmy job (old survival tool) to ensure that I am not taken advantage of. This likely comes from old childhood patterns where boundaries on my time and emotions were not respected. Giving freely often resulted in being taken advantage of.
While I much prefer the more generous side of my personality, this fear is a trigger to examine what I am offering and find a way to communicate what I am comfortable giving away freely, without strings attached.
One must be trained on how to give and receive freely. If you were not raised in an environment where you were in a position to rely on others regularly, than giving and receiving freely might be a foreign concept to you. It often is to me. I am often shocked when people feel comfortable receiving and giving freely, not to mention asking for help. My default is to rely on myself and I get confused when others don’t share that expectation. Giving with any preconceived expectations can have negative repercussions for all involved.
1. Practice Giving & Receiving Freely: Pick someone safe to practice with. For me both my husband and my mother have been people I have felt comfortable giving and receiving freely with.
2. Clarify with yourself if and how you truly want to give: To truly give, is to handover without expectation of how your gift (whether it be time, material goods, emotional support, ect…) will be received. If it no longer feels good to give, or you start to wonder if you will ever be “paid back” than you likely are not giving freely and re-communicating what you feel comfortable offering is in order.
*If you are hoping for a trade in resources and wish to receive something in return for your offering, stating this upfront is also important. These can be hard conversations for some, but once you practice, it gets easier. I have a friend who often communicates in offers and trades. She is much more comfortable asking for help than others I know because she trusts people to say no if the exchange doesn’t work for them.
3. Practice giving to yourself freely: Sometimes we have a hard time giving to ourselves and wait until we “earn” time to rest, a good meal, a night away from the kids, ect… What if youdeserved these things just by being alive? What if they contributed to your overall happiness and that happiness contributed to your ability to give to others?
I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season and I am so grateful for your readership. The responses I receive from these newsletters are a true joy and I look forward to your feedback.