Hey there, blogosphere! This is the part where I apologize for being really busy and not able to write more often, so let's just move on.
Today's post is about something I have noticed for a while now, and something my aunt and I have talked about at length. It seems to me, more and more often, that the world is divided into two general types of people: Givers and Takers.
Let's define. The Givers are those who think about other people's needs and feelings. They are nuturers and caregivers. They do things for other people without being asked. They are the ones who surprise you with a thoughtful gift...and it's not your birthday.
The Takers are self-absorbed. They look at the world and expect things to be given to them. They aren't terrible people. Most of the time they even say, "Thank you." But they don't naturally think about other people's feelings. They don't naturally go out of their way to do anything that isn't required.
My aunt's wise words, given to me many times over the years, from one Giver to another: "Givers have to set limits because Takers rarely do."
Setting those limits is extremely hard at times. When your kid is a Taker, then limits look like tough love. When your partner is a Taker, then you find yourself doing all the chores. I'm blessed with another Giver as my boyfriend, and that is such an amazing combination.
Givers tend to go into professions that emotionally exhaust them because they require giving. We are teachers, doctors, parents, social workers. We want to save the world, and when it goes up in flames, we feel personally responsible. We want to encourage everyone, help everyone, love everyone.
Until we are pushed to the brink by a Taker or Takers. When we are the only one at work doing more than their fair share every single week. When we are only one at home doing chores or showing respect for the family. We just get to a point where if we keep giving, we will lose ourselves.
It's not easy for a Giver to stop giving. We see ways to help and have to stop ourselves because our helping has become enabling. We see ways to show love but we have to hold back out of self-preservation.
Is there a way to get a Taker to realize they are a Taker? I don't know, honestly. Usually when a Giver gets upset, they are written off as "overreacting" or "in a bad mood today." And then the Giver gets over it and the routine resumes, hopefully with some inner boundaries set.
What's the answer? As a Giver, I try to help my children learn empathy and compassion. I also advise them to set limits, too. My daughter Gabrielle has heard my aunt's wise words from my own lips already. I honestly don't know any other way to affect change other than to help teach. Sometimes those words fall on deaf ears, but sometimes they sink in, take root, and sprout, even if it's years later.
Onward, dear Readers!