Friday, April 13, 2012

To Give or Not To Give, That is the Question

I’ll give this disclaimer before I dive into a concept that might be a bit uncomfortable for some.  Know that I do not judge because I write from my own personal experience.  I am human with pain in my heart…that fact makes it impossible for me to accurately judge another.  So please understand my purpose is to shine a light in a dark place.  That said, let me begin with a question to ponder.  How many times have you given something in order to win someone’s love, respect or admiration?  Conversely, how many times have others given to you to win your love, respect or admiration?  How did that feel to you?  Wouldn’t it be great if we could be so authentic and say, “I give this to you and I hope it will make you love me more” or hear someone say, “I am giving this to you so that you will respect me more than you do?”  I know.  It just doesn’t happen that way but that doesn’t make the questions invalid.  I think sometimes we have learned through our experience that we must do something or give something to others as the only way to show our worth.  It’s a premise that is fraught with issues great and small.  First, and I know it will be so very hard to take this in but promise me you’ll try—You are worthy of love, respect and admiration whether you give a thing to anyone or whether you do anything for anyone.  

When we put ourselves in a position of lacking acknowledgement of our own validity or meaningful existence in the cosmos and think we have value only to the extent someone affirmatively validates us, we have put ourselves at great emotional risk.  Depending on what you are giving, you may be creating other types of risk for yourself.  I ask you to question whether its worth it.  Do people truly love you more for the things you do or give?  Do they really respect or admire you more when you go out of your way to help them?  If the answer is truly yes, perhaps you are in the company of some good souls who can honestly express gratitude.  However, I know for myself that giving anything with any expectation of gain is a dangerous emotional game I will always lose.  First off, our existence is valid – our lives have meaning – our living and breathing brings much to Planet Earth whether you are able to validate yourselves or not.  You need not become a pleaser of the peoples, a pleaser of your family or a pleaser of friends or others you respect for validation.  If you give only to obtain validation, I suggest you stop and instead find ways to give yourself more love and validation.  That’s the only kind that matters and is long lasting any way.

I could dive headlong into codependent and enabling behaviors here to further demonstrate the harm the premise and resulting actions of giving to receive are.  But those are obvious and have well been covered by many a wise psychologically trained individual.  I’m more concerned about the core need we sometimes have to find love or validation only in the outside world.  This core need can drive us into wholly unrewarding behaviors that lock us into emotionally unfullfilling prisons that really only serve to reinforce the pain at the core that generates the need.  Without attention and effort, this core pain perpetuates itself into the outside world by bringing soul after soul who will unwittingly or even sometimes carelessly exploit your pleasing, helping or giving nature.  Now, there is a difference in giving freely without strings and not tying any personal validation to the act of giving.  That is actually healthy.  In such a case, giving can be rewarding for the pure beautiful energy aspect of giving.  The giving becomes its own reward.  But we’re not all in that wonderfully enlightened place all the time.  My reason for posting this at all is that I hear so often, “But I did this and still he refused to acknowledge me” or “I wasted all my time on so and so and still she ran off with some other guy.” 

This “give to get” thing is a really important teacher.  It hurts for a reason so pay closer attention.  When it happens, don’t blame the person you helped or gave to for not loving you, respecting you or admiring you in return.  Realize that thought process represents a victim/villain perspective that still only reinforces a negative self-image hiding somewhere deep inside of you.  Realize the truth of the message trying to present itself to you and illumine your path with pain.  Love you first.  No matter what anyone has done to you, no matter what anyone has said to you.  You are worthy of love, admiration and respect as a soul in existence.  Every human being is despite the off-based human judgment or assumptions we make or are on the receiving end of.  We must realize we were put here for a reason.  We exist here for a reason.  We have purpose just by living and doing the things we do.  If we cannot find a pathway to our own love within, we will continually put ourselves at risk for ever increasing amounts of pain.  It’s not that we are unlucky or being punished, we are being given a gift each and every time we feel emotional pain.  We just have to understand how learning works here incarnate enough to see it. Pain is not the enemy nor are those who seemingly deliver it so when you feel or experience it, particularly at times where you expose or put yourself at risk by giving to another and getting no return – learn to see it for what it is…learn to see within you the pain that is hidden.  Try to understand it and love yourself through to that beautiful healing ground that exists within us all.  Then, then you can get to the really good stuff in life.  Like, giving because you are already the epitome of abundance, you are loved, you are respected and you are admired.  You are already these things and when you can make that subtle shift from giving to get to giving for joy without any strings, I’ll tell you it is so liberating.

Some food for thought, No?  I hope so.  This is a tough life lesson but for those of us willing to look beyond the illusion of our own assumptions and pain, we can and will find the space within us that needs more gentle care and love, give that to ourselves and grow in this world in a more positive light!  So, give yourself permission to love you, respect you and admire you.  When you do this, you will attract people who also love you, respect you and admire you.  It’s how like attracts like in this universe.  ~Blessings of higher love and light!

P.S.  If you like the concepts in this article, you might also like one a wrote a while back.  Here is the link:

(c) 2012 photo/words Jaie Hart

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