The Art Of Giving (Without Burning Out)

After 35 years on this planet I’ve been getting rather introspective lately (don’t worry, I’m not a hippy just quite yet!) and have come to a conclusion about myself.  I’ve actually come to a lot of conclusions – but one in particular stands out.

My best and worst quality are one and the same.

Giving.

Yep, giving.

Giving…
Of my time.
Of my possessions.
Of my empathy.
Of my money.
Of my expertise.
Of my trust in others.
Of my positive brain space.

And, while giving is truly far better than receiving, I can promise you one thing: if you spend all of your time and energy giving to others without taking a break to recharge or realign your own priorities – you’ll burn out. You’ll fall out. And you’ll want to break out of the reality you’re currently living in. Fast.

There’s a balancing game in the life of a born ‘giver.’ A kind of internal checking system of self-care when deciphering the wants and desires of others – and then trying to align them to your own morals, obligations, and dreams.

Balancing the wants and desires of others is typically a big job. A big, draining, complex, ongoing, rewarding, fulfilling, scary, and mine-field laden job. Especially when giving to others extends beyond family, friends, social causes, hobbies, and colleagues…and  wades into the deep waters of (SHOCK! HORROR!) giving even more of yourself to people you may not know at all.

In fact, in a world where most people are looking out for Numero Uno, being a rare unicorn of collaboration and caring nature is mostly… well, exhausting. Fall-down-flat-on-your-face-once-you-cross-the-safe-threshold-of-home exhausting. And yep, I’m tired. But, tired in a beautiful way.

Hear me out… because I’m not complaining here. Nope, the opposite is at play. I love the exhausted state of giving and pushing beyond apathy and the glorification of busy to do just that little bit more to make someone else’s journey better. What can I say? While I’m no glutton for punishment (actually, I am sometimes.) To quote rock legend John Cougar Mellencamp giving simply ‘Hurts So Good’.

I think there’s something magical about giving – in all of its forms – particularly when you see just how much small moments of attention can mean in the greater story of a person’s life.

The spicy secret-sauce keeping me going at work, at home, and beyond are those moments. Magical milliseconds when someone’s eyes light up and I see true kindness and appreciation returned to me in an unspoken gesture of thanks over a shared experience. That’s the happy-tickle that gets me excited to wake up every day and head out into the wide world with a quirky little skip in my step, and a literal twinkle in my eye. We’re honestly all in this together.

And, let’s get real here folks: there are so many more people in this world who give much, much, much more than I could ever dream of. They’re the people that realize giving others their time and effort is a gift. They are also the ones who actually see everyone. Head up, looking everyone in the eyes. They’re my heroes.

They’re sometimes unsung, and other times chirp loudly a beautiful tune to get others on board to help a cause. But, what they all have in common is a desire to do better for our shared journey while we’re all here on this spinning rock not all too far from the sun.

And how cool is that? Realizing that we’re all in it together. Coming to that point of realization takes some people longer to understand than others – but once you know it’s a fact, you live your life differently.

More wholly.
More happily.
More openly.
More truthfully.

So, while I might give more than I should sometimes to people who may not ever appreciate the time or effort exerted on them… that’s okay. I’ll keep doing it (and, when I need to, I’ll find a quiet place to recharge.)

Why? Simply, because I can.

img_5239

Advertisements