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Are you an over giving woman who gives too much of your time and energy to people who might be taking you for granted and draining you of energy?
It was October last year. I was angry most of the time – and exhausted too. The breaking point came, when in a meeting a friend texted me to tell me that she had something important to say.
Before you judge me, let me tell you that I have always been there for her, dishing out hours of pep talk and listening to her woes.
But some people don’t know when to stop. It was obvious within a minute that nothing was important enough for her to have texted me in the middle of a meeting. She knew my meeting was important.
And I knew that I was depleting.
I called my therapist A. ‘A’ asked me to see her. That was when I was told that I was over giving – and that I was exhausted.
How many times have you heard someone – or perhaps yourself – say, “I hardly get back what I give.” If you’re the one who is saying it then perhaps you too are suffering from ‘over giving’.
Over giving is not generosity.
Generosity is a wonderful thing and the world needs it. But over giving is self negating. Generosity comes from an over flowing cup, over giving comes from a half filled or empty cup. As life coach and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant says, “What is in the cup is mine, and what overflows is yours.”
The problem with us as a culture is that, we have worshipped the givers. As a friend said, “Karna gave it all, but dude, he got killed. That’s the lesson from giving it all. You die. Someone else walks off as the king.”
Unless we want to die, it’s important to set boundaries – as takers hardly do.
Here is a rule – have you ever questioned why you give so much? You may hate it, but in most cases you give to compensate the fear of not being enough. Over givers mostly have a belief that if they give, they will get.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about her experience of over giving, after she became really rich once her book became an international bestseller. She wrote: “When I lost my friends, it was because I had used the power of giving recklessly on them. I swept into their lives with my big fat cheque book, and I erased years of obstacles for them overnight – but sometimes, in the process, I also accidentally erased years of dignity. Sometimes, by interrupting his biographical narrative so jarringly, I denied a friend the opportunity to learn his own vital life lesson at his own pace. In other words, just when I believed I was operating as a dream facilitator, I was turning into a destiny disruptor.”
I agree with her. When you over give, you stop nurturing yourself. You start acting from a barren place. What you do not give yourself, it is impossible to give to others without hurting yourself.
Iyanla Vanzant once said: “When you put yourself last, you put God last.” Whether or not you believe in God, there is an intelligence that has created you. Honour that. You have to nurture that power within you, to thrive in life. If you are getting depleted, you have all the permission to walk out or build a wall. And remember, when you put yourself last, you put that intelligence last. How do you expect to thrive putting the creative source last?
Give yourself first. The world can wait!
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Published here earlier.
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Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
Very important topic in our modern ruthless times Paromita. You have rightly dwelled on it in depth and all seriousness (as have I and my hubby!! hee! hee!) Our extensive ruminations on this topic have led to this conclusion which I share with you- In this world, there are givers and there are takers. One’s basic wiring and perhaps childhood environment/influences makes one either of these. There are times when givers may take and takers may give, but these instances are not instinctive but rather circumstantial or deliberate and less frequent. However the “true givers” instinctively seek to give and feel uncomfortable taking, while, the “true takers instinctively seek to take” for greater self-comfort and to the point of discomfort to the giver!! The biggest disaster of course, is, if these two are in any long term relationship together. There is bound to be extreme discomfort for the giver and the taker is going to turn into monster that can never have enough!! However there is good news- two givers can make it just fine together, as will two takers. In the first case it will lead to a very happy and secure contentment, whereas in the second it will lead to an equally balanced “balance sheet” !!(takers are very into hisaab-kitaab) So my only advice is – identify your instinctive style honestly and then find a partner or friends who match that style. Its the only way to save yourself from depletion!! It takes time to get this picking and choosing game right, but in time you will be able to identify the healthy grass from the weeds!!
Thankyou for sharing Sonia. Means a lot. Lots of love!
Wonderful and insightful read, Paromita! I needed to read this …..especially when I was wondering if goodness and kindness is even appreciated nowadays, forget being reciprocated anymore. Loved all those statements by Iyanla Vanzant. Thanks for the reminder that too much of anything, including´Goodness´ is a bad thing. Ironic but the hard truth!
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