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Episode 33 – Do You Give More Than You Receive?

Do You Give More Than You Receive?

Do you give too much?

Hey there Beautiful!

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and a post really got my attention. So much so that I decided to dedicate a whole podcast episode to it. The post was by Johanna Lynn who I interviewed recently for Episode 30 about how to have challenging conversations with our parents. Her post asked the question, “Do you give too much?”

How can you give too much?

Wait what? How can I give too much? I was intrigued so I kept reading and then did the heavy lifting of actually clicking with my thumb on the “See More” button in the bottom right corner of the post to continue reading. And then I did even more heavy lifting by actually clicking on the link to read her entire article.

Side note: How much work are you doing as a customer?

I use the phrase heavy lifting because I was told a long time ago that in marketing and customer service you want to have your potential client or customer do the least amount of work.

So I apply that to everything!

I apply that philosophy when I go places, such as restaurants, hotels, airlines flights, you name it. I will evaluate customer service based on how much work as a customer I am instructed to do.

How many hoops will I have to jump through?

Or when I go to a website and see how many clicks is it going to take me to get the information that I want.

Or with Apple and updating my apps on my iPhone. The most recent update did something to the App Store so instead of just clicking on the app and then clicking on updates I now have to click on the app, then click on my profile pic in the top right corner, then scroll down to find the “Update” button.

I HATE wasting time and Apple, you are wasting my time.

How much work do you have to do to get what you want?

Okay thank you for your patience with my explanatory rant about the phrase heavy lifting. But now when you are involved in customer service type situations you may view it in a new light and evaluate it by asking yourself the question of, “How much work do I have to do to find what I want?”

We give from a place of emptiness.

So you can see though if I’m doing a bit more work to click through to Johanna’s post then it must be good.

In her post she said, “When we give more than we receive, unconsciously, we do it out of a place of emptiness. We do it to pick up the slack of the other side, to fill in the empty spaces. We do it to ensure that we will never end up alone.”

Wait, what??? What do you mean to ensure that I will never end up alone?

You see, I am a giver.

It makes me feel good to give to others whether it be someone in my family, a friend, or even a stranger that I believe just needed a smile.

Women are givers to the point of detriment.

We will give and give and give, especially to our families, until one day we realize that we are exhausted and worn out from all the giving.

I know I'm not a good receiver.

I feel like I wasn’t always this way.

I can’t put my finger on the exact point or the exact situation that helped me to shut down as a receiver.

I know I used to receive with joy and happiness but now I am a receiver with guilt and a general feeling of being uncomfortable. It’s like I feel that I don’t deserve it.

I believe this is due to some of the places where I have worked. I gave and gave and gave and when it was time to receive, my bosses made it a point to remind me of why I should be giving so much just because they gave me the bare minimum of what any employer should give.

I guess that is partially my fault for over-giving.

For instance, I once requested to leave work early in order to go with my husband to a specialist to find out some really important test results. And my boss asked, “Why? Can’t he go by himself?”’ The way that I see it, if I give and give at a job, when I ask for something like leaving work early to go with my husband to the doctor’s office, I should receive an easy response such as, “Yes of course! Don’t worry about a thing.” I shouldn’t receive push-back and ridiculous questions.

The only question I would accept is, “Is everything okay and is there anything I can do to help?” because that’s what I would ask.

But I know not everyone thinks like me.

My employees will NEVER give to me more than they receive.

That’s why when anyone works for me, I NEVER want them to feel nervous to ask me something that has to do with their family.

Especially when I see how hard they work for me.

I want them to feel comfortable to ask and then easily receive what they asked for from me.

I want to be able to freely and happily give them what they’ve asked for.

I don’t want them feeling any guilt for asking or feel like they have to make it up to me in some way.

And trust me, every time a woman has asked me to take time off with their families, even if it’s just to go to their son’s last holiday party in elementary school, it usually goes something like, “I was wondering if I could leave about 30 minutes early to go to my son’s holiday party next Friday? It’s his last one so I really want to be there. I will be sure to come in early and I hope it’s not too much trouble. I guess I don’t have to go.”

And that’s when I stop her from continuing to make any other excuses of why she doesn’t have to go and just say, “Yes, absolutely. But please stop giving me reasons of why you should or shouldn’t go. Just put it on the calendar. Done.”

Like I said, women are givers to the point of detriment.

And I include myself in that statement because when I read Johanna’s article I immediately felt an a-ha moment. There should be a balance of give and take and I could feel many areas of my life are out of balance.

Again, when we give more than we receive we do it from a place of emptiness.

So again, when we give more than we receive, unconsciously, we do it out of a place of emptiness.

We do it to pick up the slack of the other side, to fill in the empty spaces.

We do it to ensure that we will never end up alone. I could apply that to how I worked and felt at previous jobs as well as with my husband. 

The things I give are the things I think they need.

I don’t want to lose my job so I give, give, and give.

I don’t want my husband to die early from not taking care of himself so I give, give, and give to try and help him do all the things I think he should do in order to be around with me for a long time.

I’ve told him that if he dies early due to something that could’ve been prevented like eating healthier, he can’t come back and haunt me because I’m going to be so MAD at him.

The key is that it’s all the things “I THINK” he should be doing. Of course all of my thinking is backed up with real data because of our own trial and error but whatevs. I’m just the nagging wife.

You need to strive for a balance between give and receive.

Over time with me giving so much, the receiver can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the imbalance of what is given and that they cannot reciprocate.

Most often, the receiver would rather leave than feel in debt within the relationship.

With my jobs, I was always the one to leave.

I gave and gave and because I didn’t feel any reciprocation, I found a new job that hopefully would be better at a give and receive relationship. My bosses reciprocation usually involved giving me a detailed list of all the benefits that I receive such as my salary, a health and dental plan, a 401K, and paid time off. Yes that’s the monetary value of what their giving me and what I’m receiving for giving them my hard work.

But a relationship is more than just black and white numbers on a piece of paper. At some point I’m giving so much from a place of emptiness because my job is not making me happy.

I give so much that it's smothering him.
I should give only as much as he can receive.

I recognize that I am overwhelming my husband with my giving.

I am smothering him with it.

All in the name of ensuring that I don’t end up alone with him dying early because of not taking care of himself.

I’m trying to control the situation and in the process I’m not really in any kind of control.

I’m picking up his slack to fill in my empty spaces because I’m not allowing him to give to me.

Johanna also says that if it’s my natural instinct to give, (and it most definitely is) a new way to support my relationships, is to only give as much as your partner is capable of receiving.

I actually have been really trying to work on this in the last year. I came to the conclusion that I was wasting my breath and energy trying to get my husband to take care of himself.

If he wants to live longer, he has to be the one to do it.

So I stopped giving in certain areas. I used to make his lunch every morning. But he didn’t eat them. I decided to stop making them for him.

My giving was not being appreciated or received.

He asked why I stopped and I told him that it’s a waste of my time to make a lunch that doesn’t get eaten. If he wants a lunch he can fix himself or starve during the day because even if he had a lunch that I made, he wouldn’t stop to eat it because he was too busy.

Giving and receiving can be many things.

I’m going to continue to work on giving only as much as the person can receive. I’m going to strive to achieve a balance of give and take and not feeling guilty when I am receiving. I need to fill in my empty spaces myself with giving to myself so I won’t feel exhausted and frustrated when I’m giving too much to others.

Look at all of your relationships and see if they are out of balance.

So ask yourself this question, “Do you give more than you receive?”

Look at all of your relationships and see if they are out of balance.

Pull back on the ones that you are over-giving and give more to the ones that you’ve been receiving too much.

Giving could be in any kind of form. Giving money, giving your time, giving advice, giving emotional support, giving energy, or giving a person precious space in your mind to rehash old hurts.

And an even better questions to ask yourself is, “Do you receive more than you give?” 

You don't have to keep track of how much you give and receive.

Now I’m not saying that you have to repay every single nice thing that someone has done for you.

There’s not a list out there that I’m keeping track of every time I picked up a friend’s son from school and then waited for that friend to reciprocate so I could check off from that list that she paid me back.

I know that it will, even out in the end.

We women always feel like we have to give right back after we have received because then we won’t be in debt to that other woman.

I know I’ve done it.

Somewhere along the way I learned that it has to be even. But in recent years I have changed that so that I can receive with grace and let go of the guilt.

Don't ever turn down free money.

My grandmother taught me an important lesson.

I was visiting her at her home and at the end of the visit she handed me a $50 dollar bill.

I said, “Grandma you don’t have to give me that.”

She replied, “Don’t ever turn down free money.”

Well, how can you argue with that logic?

And you couldn’t argue with my grandma because she worked at local department store in the customer service department for a number of years. That woman knew how to use her words to convince you to just do what she wanted without you realizing that you were doing it.

I have never turned down free money ever again including “money” that is not really tangible, like a cashier scanning a coupon that they had hidden below their register which gave me an extra 10% off my entire order.

I will gladly receive that and give them my biggest thanks and smile.

If you want to read Johanna’s original article click here.

I’ll talk to you later Beautiful!

Thanks for listening!

Share your thoughts with me or ask a question about this episode. Send an email.

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Alice Agnello, Lifestyle and Success Coach

I'm Alice Agnello.

I’m a California raised, incurable romantic who was too snarky for the corporate world. I love show tunes, chai tea, and all things British. My mission? To help women rediscover who they are, after their kids have grown.

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Download the FREE guide to 5 Things You Can Do This Week To Help Find Yourself. You are ready to take this next step now that the kids have grown.

The guide will help you:

→  Work on your mindset so you can recognize negative thoughts and work to quiet them.

→  Help figure out what’s bothering you and know it’s okay to go at your own pace.

→ Understand that taking care of yourself is the most important person in your life and to release the guilt.

Sign up to receive my whitty newsletters, tips & tricks, promotions, & other emails, & receive this free guide!