Tuesday, April 8, 2014
G is for Give
I do have a giving spirit. It's one of the things that people claim they admire about me. Early in life, I started to hear that "I'm too giving." The true meaning of that didn't really sink in until my mid twenties. It revealed itself in several situations where I would assist people. Not only did the assistance not get replicated but their actions (or lack of actions) caused some unfortunate situations. A couple of those I'm still feeling the effects of.
What I have been doing is being more selective in three things: (1) Who I give to (2) What I give and (3) How much I give.
(1) Who I give to
As much as I try to give people benefit of the doubt, some will just take a mile if you give an inch. Unfortunately for me, the latter has been more the norm than the exception. I had to adjust my way of thinking to protect myself. Otherwise, I would keep making the same mistakes. Just because I have one philosophy of integrity, honesty and giving doesn't mean the other person embodies it or even upholds it. Therefore, if someone has shown me through words and/or actions that giving would be a liability, I just don't do it. If I made the mistake with this person before, then it will not be repeated.
(2) What I give
Whatever is given has a value. Value doesn't necessarily have to mean money. It can also mean time. A certain energy is attached to both. I have to think to myself: Is this project worth the investment? Is this person worth my time and does he or she have characteristics that reflect the time would be an asset? Not every invention or idea is a smart one. The "what" has to be wise as well.
(3) How much I give
My grandma always told me not to start something I can't keep up. With some people, once my propensity to give was revealed, they kept coming to the well consistently with their mouths open and hands out. Usually it was around the time where everything was steady in regards to finances or what not. When things started going sour for me due to the economy, a few things happened. Some people had amnesia: they couldn't recall saying "if you need anything, I'm here for you". Others said, "See, what had happened was..." followed by the long story of why they couldn't give back money they promised to repay. Yet there were some that didn't give a damn about my situation and was still looking for support anyway.
I've cut back on my giving. Even with presents for the holidays. For me, it just seemed strange to give gifts to someone every year that never gave me one in return--but was looking for one from me all the time.
There are some people who claim I've gotten meaner and am not as nice anymore. I don't think that's the case. I've become wiser and smarter.
Although other people may claim to care about me, I have to put myself first. If others don't like it, then they weren't meant to be mainstays in my life in the first place.