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Giving and Receiving: A Healthy Balance

What’s Wrong With Just Being a Giver?

Have you ever felt taken for granted? Ever experienced resentment towards someone that you actually love doing nice things for but they don’t ever seem to reciprocate? If yes (and there are numerous more examples of the particular feeling we’re talking about), then perhaps you’re struggling with achieving the perfect balance between giving and receiving. While giving has many positive impacts on mental health and putting something good into the world for someone else can really elevate your mood, help with self-esteem, and so on, sometimes you need to be on the receiving end of that affection and care as well! It is absolutely not selfish to want to be the receiver instead of the person that primarily gives in some situations. After all, we don’t want to face the exhaustion that being too generous can give rise to. Yes, there is such a thing called generosity burnout and it might be happening to a lot of us who derive joy from giving.

Giving isn’t just acts of material generosity: sometimes it may be in the form of giving surprise gifts to a friend just to brighten up their week but other times it may be acts of non-material care such as listening to a co-worker talk about their bad day or showing empathy for a stranger who seems to be in distress. In all of these situations, of course, the person who is giving experiences some form of gratification or satisfaction just by performing the act of giving. That feeling when someone likes the present you chose for them really is an irreplaceable one! Yet, it is not enough to always be on the giving end of things. 

Starting to Receive:

Yet, being on the receiving side might require some getting used to for people who are normally givers. So here are some ways to achieve a balance between giving and receiving and also teach oneself to be a giver and a receiver simultaneously: 

  1. Start Small: It might be a good idea to get started by acknowledging what you have already been gifted, think about small gifts from nature (a sunny day in a rainy week, a cool breeze on a hot summer day, and so on) or little moments of appreciation that your loved ones show you all the time. Maintaining a gratitude journal might be something that will help you recognize yourself as a giver and a receiver at the same time and it will also help remove any feelings of resentment or neglect that generosity burnout can cause. It might help you see yourself bestowed with just as many blessings as you bestow upon others! 
  1. Accept what you receive: It might be easy to brush off a compliment as meaningless or skirt around something affirmative your friend said without acknowledging the fact that you are being admired or appreciated. If you get uncomfortable when someone genuinely appreciates you or commends your effort or are prone to dismissing it as “fake”, it might be good to reconsider that attitude and start accepting the gifts of appreciation that you are being given through words and gestures without discomfort. You are worthy of receiving and affirming this worth will help with achieving a balance between giving and receiving by making you more comfortable with the latter! 
  1. Ask for what you want to receive: Recognizing your own needs and asking for them to be fulfilled or even asking for help with fulfilling them can help you be a receiver and can make the process of receiving more authentic and comfortable for you as you will be in anticipation of something that you actually have use for! It can be exhausting to be a “good” receiver, always grateful, even for things that you did not want or need. Asking for things that you actively want or need will help the givers be better givers and help you experience receiving something authentically, genuinely, and without having to feign any feelings! 

Start with these little things today to stop the ill-effects of generosity burnout and work with maintaining a balance between giving and taking! Without this balance, we would lose our connection to a real community feeling of mutual trust and strength! 

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