couple having a disagreement taking a break in relationship

What to do when Giving becomes a burden?

Be a giver not a taker! Haven’t we all heard the phrase? But there is so much falsity in the statement. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that especially if you have been conditioned from childhood to be selfless. You have been taught to keep giving and giving and giving until it starts hurting. No, it’s not your ego that is hurt. For the over givers, their self-esteem will start getting maimed at one point in their lives for sure. And then you might hold bitterness in your mind towards the people you keep giving.

Giving is a great deed but you know what there is no harm in receiving! It’s not at all selfish to allow yourself to receive time, attention, favors, or materialistic stuff from others. If you feel obligated to give while uncomfortable to receive you have a serious deep-rooted limiting belief there.

It feels amazing to be a giver but do you know when giving becomes a burden?

When you feel emotionally drained. 

There should be joy in giving not sadness before or after you give something to a person. Whenever you are feeling a pang in your heart remember you do not have to be the giver!

Children who have been neglected by their initial caregivers often have the tendency to over-give when they grow up. They want to be accepted by others. They seek approval from people because they are unable to approve of themselves! And this is how they become the givers in each and every relationship.

Families where children are taught too much about virtues often impress the young minds to be selfless. As adults they always want to be the right person, they want to be kind and generous. Women, in general, have the tendency to over-give in relationships.

When giving becomes a Problem – What are the Warning Signs?

  • In any relationship, you are the one to initiate the giving in any form. You could be giving your time, energy, kind gestures, gifts, money, etc.
  • You feel obligated to give.
  • You don’t feel the need to observe whether the other person is indulging you with the same energy and efforts as you are offering them.
  • Deep down you are afraid that your partner or friends might leave if you stop giving.
  • You do not communicate with the other person about your needs and expectations in the relationship.
  • You continue giving without receiving in that ratio until you feel emotionally empty.
  • Your partner (or friends) takes your efforts for granted.

How to stop the tendency of over-giving?

To stop the tendency you have to first realize in any relationship there should be a healthy exchange of giving and receiving. Of course, you don’t have to measure the efforts! In any healthy relationship giving and receiving happens in an effortless manner. You give time, they make time for you. You bring them presents they also give or do something for you.

And most importantly, you don’t have to always initiate things!

Stop being the person who always texts or calls or plans the date or the night out. In a balanced relationship (romantic or otherwise) you should not have to always do everything first. It’s true one should not involve their ego while dealing with their loved ones but you must know your self-worth. When you are the one always taking the first steps, always giving yourself first to others you are wounding your self-esteem.

Parting words for you:

  • Be a giver but also allow yourself to be a receiver.
  • You don’t have to give first!
  • You don’t have to be the giver in all situations. Allow someone else to give if you do not want to!
  • Maintain a boundary. You have to keep things for yourself. It’s not being selfish it’s being practical. You can’t give away all your money. Similarly, you can’t give away all your energy to others. You can’t give all your time, you can’t pour all your love on others.
  • Learn to give from a happy place. You can only be comfortable giving when you are giving from a full heart not when you feel insecure or needy yourself.
by Ishita Ganguly

Ishita is a published author, poet, and freelance writer from India. She is the author of the book, "Stories from the City called Kolkata" and editor of the international poetry anthology, "Expressions from the Heart". She is the co-author of 5 international anthologies. Her articles and poems have been published on leading websites and in international magazines.

Ishita is a double master's degree holder, a corporate professional turned educator turned full-time writer. She is a book lover who believes words have immense power and writers can make a huge impact in the world! She desires to leave the world better than she found it through her contributions as a writer and as a responsible global citizen.


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