Alright, so I am starting a series called “Lessons Learned.” Here, I will share a variety of really hard lessons I’ve learned in my life, but mainly in the last few years or so.
I’ve been through many ups and downs, really making an impact on my view of life. I am hoping this series will be encouraging as you travel on this journey called life.
This series will focus on marriage, friendships, money, parenting and faith.
Today…I want to talk to my generous and giving people out there.
Not everyone is a natural “giver” and it’s definitely more challenging for some people than others for a variety of reasons.
I am a certified giver and a generous person. I always have been, even as a little girl. I love helping people out, lightening their load, or just bringing joy to their day. Giving is a way I make people feel loved and cared about in a tangible way.
However, I’ve learned there is a major downside to being generous people can face including myself.
I try to give and sacrifice without expectation for anything to be returned. However, there’s almost always is a hidden one. When I give, in that moment, I believe it truly is no strings attached.
I am not expecting someone to give me back money, make me the same meal I dropped off, or buy me the same gift I gave them. I realized, however, I expect to get it back in different ways.
Sometimes I expect someone to be a better friend to me due to my giving. Sometimes I expect them to help me in a totally different way if I need it in the future.
This is truly different for every person and sometimes doesn’t always feel connected. I have realized whenever someone did not treat me the way I felt they should, I became resentful about my generosity to them.
I was mad at myself for giving so much to someone who I felt wasn’t being a great friend to me or doing things for me I would do for them.
When I realized this, I had to look at my heart and see where this came from.
One of the lessons I learned here was this…no one was forcing me to give, there was no formal agreement, or understanding (even if I created it in my head).
I needed to find a better balance of being giving, without any strings attached. I needed to avoid becoming resentful when people didn’t show up for me the way I expected them.
This has not been easy, and something I still struggle with from time to time. Becoming self- aware of those expectations I place on people when I give, helps me release those expectations, giving with a completely pure heart.
Some people think the solution is to stop giving. That’s not who I am or who I believe God wants me to be. At the same time, I am dedicated to continue to grow in searching my own heart before giving to someone else.
I have no regrets for those I’ve been generous with. Regardless of how they treated me, I believe in that moment of giving, God put it on my heart to be generous with them. I can really leave the rest in His hands.
I hope this will help you examine any unhealthy connections for giving to others. Let those go, because it can be a really heavy thing to carry.
For more articles on relationships, check out: “When Trusting Others Feels Unsafe.”