March 19, 2024 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: Do you feel like you give too much?

Truth Bomb Tuesday: Giving is good, but not always.

Where are you giving from?

This is a really interesting question. When you give, do you give automatically, out of impulse? Or do you stop and consider deeply whether you actually have the resources to offer?

I was talking to a former student the other day – former in the sense that she has “graduated” into financial freedom and now just does what she wants all day. Bless her.

But she reflected that once she started taking responsibility for her financial journey, that set in train a whole bunch of changes that turned her into a different person – a better person, in the sense that she likes who she is more now.

And one of the things she had to figure out was how she managed her energies.

The way she tells it, she grew up without a strong sense of belonging, and without getting her needs for intimacy met.

Her therapist said there’s three things that tend happen in that kind of scenario. You either harden up around that need – tell yourself that you don’t actually need it and just learn to live without it.

Or you collapse – you live in a sort of constant despair and victimhood and a belief that that need will never be met.

Or you rush to meet that need in others, in the hope that it will be reciprocated. You start roping people into reciprocal contracts without letting the counter-parties know what they’re signing up to.

She went down the third route. She would rush to help people fit in and feel like they belonged. She’d be the one organising parties and birthday dinners and making sure everyone felt included.

She offered what she wanted to receive. She wanted to feel welcomed. She wanted to belong. And so that was what she offered to others.

… Even if it wasn’t really needed or even her place to do it. She’d be the one showing the new team member around, even if they weren’t even in her team. She’d be checking in to make sure that people felt included, even if they were hyper-individualistic and didn’t actually care whether they fitted in or not.

And she’d instinctively make excuses for people so they didn’t feel ostracised, even if their behaviour probably meant that they did need to be cut off.

It was automatic.

But it wasn’t authentic.

She gave and gave, regardless of where her energies were at. She’d often end up feeling depleted and drained.

But, the good news is that as she learnt to own her own needs directly, and to take responsibility for making sure those needs were met (in collaboration with her loved ones), she stopped living in that kind of transactional reality.

When she gave it was because she chose to give, not because it was an automatic learnt response.

The way she described it, it came from deeper in her being. The impulse to give came from deep within, rather than being a surface level response.

In that way, it was more authentic and nourishing.

And so I think this becomes a really interesting question: where are you giving from?

Because if you are giving automatically – hungrily – without checking in with how you actually feel first, then it’s possible that you are caught in this kind of transactional reality.

And maybe what you need to do is discover what unmet need is driving the urge to give, own it and meet it directly.

It’s an interesting question.