It’s Christmas time and we are in the season of giving- giving to our families, our partners, and various charities. For some reason, at Christmas time we don’t mind the giving. It’s expected and, truth be told, it makes us feel good.
However, there’s the flip side of giving. The flip side often results in feeling overburdened, overwhelmed, and overtired. We know this. We know we need to stop, slow down, but we don’t.
Because some of us are addicted to giving ourselves away. We hear the siren of “I need to you”, and we come running. Our motives are good. We want to help, and yet, we feel resentful afterward for the time and energy it took away from ourselves. We feel “robbed.”
We don’t realize that when we are giving out of guilt or obligation, we aren’t being helpful. We are being fearful.
We are fearful the person or situation will not be able to get along or survive without our help. We are fearful if we don’t help, something awful will happen. We are fearful they will think poorly of us if we don’t respond. But most of all, we are fearful it is our responsibility and we are “bad” people if we don’t.
Guilt and obligation can cause us to do things that aren’t in our best interest. They make us stay longer than we should, answer the phone when all we want is a nap, or say we’ll do something we’d really rather not do.
When giving comes from this place, we are actually harming, not just ourselves, but the situation. We are putting out energy that says , “You need me! You can’t survive without me!”, which is a very disempowering message to send. It implies the person doesn’t have the strength or resources to take care of themselves. It’s not coming from a place of trust, it’s coming from a place of fear.
If we cannot take care of ourselves and our own Spirit, we cannot really help anyone else. It is our strength that lends them strength. It is our confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves that lends them courage to do the same. And it is our experience of listening to our own Heart and truth that lends them the trust and faith to act upon theirs.
But if we cannot be the examples, then our words are meaningless. All of our “help” lacks the real healing such examples would provide.
Does this mean we never help anyone anytime we’re feeling tired or depleted? No, of course not. But it does mean we learn to set limits on what we can do. We can learn to say, “I really want to help you, but I need to recharge myself first. I’ll call you in a few hours.” We can learn to say, “I can’t do that, but I can do this.” And be okay with that.
When we can accept where we are and what we are able to do, or not do, we unplug from the fear. We feel our bodies relax because we are sending the message to ourselves, “You are important to me and you matter.” This is how we grow in self-love.
And from this place, an interesting thing begins to happen. We suddenly want to give. Not out of fear, but out of overflow. This is not selfish, this is self-fullness.
Give to yourself and watch the love spread!