Giving to others, helping them in their hour of need, being ready to support them at all hours – these are all things we are taught to do from the time we are old enough to understand anything. But when it comes to overgiving, more often than not it becomes our undoing.
This is how I have been leading my life. Giving and giving until I am ready to fall dead. Giving to spread happiness. Giving to spread cheer – to the extent that I feel fatigued at the end of the day.
Generous giving vs. over-giving
Generous giving is one thing. It implies that you have taken good care of yourself and then have turned your energy towards others. Overgiving on the other hand is burdensome as it is a one-way traffic.
We look after the elderly and the sick, we give time and service to charities, we take over the tasks and responsibilities of our friends and colleagues because they request us to do so. And we feel good because we have done good to others. There is nothing wrong in this – in fact I am surprised I could do so much in the midst of my busy life.
Many of us lead our lives as if we are banks which only allow withdrawals and no deposits. This way bankruptcy is not far away.
We have never been taught to receive
In our conditioning we have never been taught to receive; so what happens very often is that we go on giving at the cost of our work, time, priorities, health and even money. We give and give till we are drained of everything – money, health, energy, time and patience. But when it’s a one-way street of giving with no return it starts to take a heavy toll on us. We have nothing left to give and we have nothing even to sustain ourselves.
Physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially we are empty inside of us. There is no interest in anything, no inclination to do anything and we get irritated, impatient, at small things. We reach a point of burnout which is harmful to us and to the people around us who we love and who care for us. Everybody is affected because of our inability to stop giving.
We can’t go on ignoring our welfare
Giving is good but doing it in excess is not good. We cannot live in this kind of state – by ignoring our welfare. How can we continue to help others when we are so depleted of emotions, health and energy?
We have to change our mindset and way of thinking. We have to realize that every relationship is one of give and take. We have to learn how to receive along with our natural practice of giving. We have to guard against some habits that trap us into this never ending cycle of giving and giving and giving. This kind of situation is stressful and it harms us.
- We have to learn to say “no” when we cannot manage to keep doing for others.
- We have to find time – quality time – for ourselves and our close ones.
- We have to push other tasks away and prioritize for the happiness of our family.
- We have to cut down on work times – we need to take time off for ourselves.
- We need to develop a sense of peace, quiet and calm – we have to stop stressing and have to learn to relax.
- We have to stop feeling guilty when we say “no” to someone because we genuinely cannot help them at that time.
- We have to give with an open mind, without expectations and not feel “used” or unappreciated or angry if giving exhausts us and makes us fall sick.
- We have to pause and consider if we can help and do so only if we are comfortable every which way while doing it.
If you have identified yourself as an over-giver you must be feeling exhausted and near burnt out by now.