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Do we give too much? Or not enough …

07 Jun 2016

It is sometimes a precarious line between our empathetic drivers and our self-protective mechanisms that makes discerning between when you have given someone too much already, and when you just know there’s no limits to how much you will give. Sometimes with little to no return, but that’s not the point of giving, right?
I’ve been walking this line for the vast majority of my life. I guess you could say I’m a giver. I’ve always been empathetic, understanding and compassionate about what others are experiencing and feeling. To a point, of course (and, oh boy, watch out when I feel that line is truly crossed!). But it’s the question of where that point sits, what constitutes crossing that line, that is of interest.
As a giver, I do constantly “feel” what it would be like to walk in another’s shoes. Not that I sit there and imagine all their feelings, it’s more automatic than that – I guess it’s just more that I trust that what they’re going through is worthy of understanding and a little bit more giving might just help.
I don’t think about my own reserves, what is coming back to me or what I get out of it – if I trust that someone needs more empathy, understanding and compassion, well, I just tend to give it. And sometimes I’m wrong to do that.
And this is where the problem really begins. Well actually, this is more where the problem really reveals itself.
You see, I’m running out. Kind of running out of steam, emotionally and physically. I’ve drained myself and I realise in looking back that there have been very few people who have been giving to me.
It’s certainly not a ‘tit for tat’ balance I’m speaking of, but a very serious self awareness that I am guilty of handing over in buckets my energy and support and when the chips are down, when I’m exhausted, when I’m struggling to find the joy and result of these actions – well, there’s not really anyone there doing the same for me.
Let me give you an example. As you know, I have a business in the wedding industry. I recently had a bride, who was quite ill. It was really heart wrenching knowing she was having such a hard time. She told me that she really loved my work, that this would be such a joy for her to be married in full glory of my product and so on and so forth.
I quoted this, and requoted that as she chopped and changed her mind. Indoors outdoors, day time, night time. All the red flags were going up, but I felt so much empathy I continued on. Anyway, after months of planning she has pulled the pin.
I knew she would, deep down. I just didn’t have the heart to not support her, as her life was in such turmoil. I knew I was giving support to someone who needed it, but in the end it just didn’t deliver anything for me but a loss of time and resources. Or did it?
I have lots of situations that are quite similar, but you get the picture. So I’m asking myself, “do I give too much?” Am I the person who never says no, am I the person who is hopelessly empathetic and can’t construct clear boundaries. And do you know what I’ve realised? I absolutely am not.
I have looked at what I give, and to whom, and I am of the absolute conviction that you can’t give too much. Sure, sometimes I wonder if it helped and certainly sometimes I’m exhausted as a result. But this is also the same “fuel” that propels me to work tirelessly with charity events, that sees me volunteer on committees and feeds my desire to make a difference.
These are the underlying core values that means my friends, my truest dearest friends, know deep in their hearts that no matter how busy I am I will drop everything to be there for them if they need it. They’ve never abused that power, it is a bond that is special and lifelong. This is also the essence of who I am as a person, and how I love – unconditionally. Without reservation. And that’s pretty powerful.
So do you know what I got out of the very ill-bride situation? I know that I was who I truly was – a giver – even in the face of no return. And that helps me sleep at night, knowing that I was true to myself.
So a woman may wonder if she is giving too much, and sometimes the answer is yes, we give too much to people who may not return it. But you know what? Isn’t it better to be that person, the person you truly are even if it sometimes feels it’s all being sucked up?
Believe in yourself – in your strength to keep giving and not let disappointments make your heart bitter and limit your capacity to give and to love.  
Women are the greatest nurturers and give so much love and compassion. What a woman wants is to be able to give without ever running out of steam, but what a woman needs to remember is that it is equally important to give herself that love and compassion as well.
So pour a glass of champagne, hop in a bubble-bath and congratulate yourself on just how wonderful you actually are! xx
Until next month.
Don’t forget you can find me at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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