When We Give a Little Too Much
“It’s better to give than receive”: As noble an ideal as that is, there’s a limit to giving that too many of us involved in caregiving choose to ignore. Where does it lead us?
Those of us in healthcare and other service fields have been taught that giving is honorable and receiving is selfish. So, we give of our time, our money, our wisdom, our ideas and our love without restriction or any overt expectation of return. It feels so good to give, seeing the smiling and grateful faces of those we serve is the reward in itself.
But what about the other side of that equation? What happens when it’s time to receive? Is receiving as easy and pleasurable as the giving side? Very often the answer is no. We are taught to continually push past our limits, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. When we are given a compliment or accolades for a job well done, our automatic reply is “it was nothing” and deflect the gift.
We rarely face the fact that when we push away a thank you or compliment or offer of help or love, we are not allowing other person the opportunity to feel the joy of giving. We are marginalizing their genuine effort to do their good deed and feel good when they see us smile. Every time we push our own needs aside, work past the limits of our endurance or keep on giving, we chip away at our own wellness.
It is wonderful to be on the giving side of the flow, but if you are only giving out, your cup becomes empty. My challenge to you is to allow yourself to be the gracious receiver, don't deflect or turn down offers of help. When you allow yourself to receive, you not only fill up your own reservoir but you can revel in the smiles and good feelings you are giving to the giver.