Why I’m doing less.

I’ve been a giver my whole life. My grandmother was a giver, mommy is a giver and so am I. I’ve never known any other way of being. I’ve never had too little to give. Even the smallest things could always be shared, somehow. I’ve even considered that giving may just be my spiritual gift. I just always seem to want to give more than other people are willing to.

I clear out my wardrobe without fail every year, give out clothes and then spend the year rebuilding it. If I see something I like I also pick up one extra for someone else who might like it. It’s just how I am. Those are things I’ve done with little to no thought given to them. It’s just who I am and I haven’t really thought of any other way of being until now.

Recently I started feeling emotionally exhausted from giving. A foreign feeling. Never in my whole 31yrs of existence had I ever felt tired of giving. I always gave even when on the surface it seemed like I had nothing left to give. I always thought I had a bottomless well in me. I could give until I died was what I really believed.

So I took this foreign feeling to therapy so we could dig deeper. My therapist pointed out that I had carried on giving my time, my energy, various gifts that ranged from money to other material stuff the way I always had. I was still giving the same way I used to give when my boyfriend was still in his human body but because a HUGE part of my life (him) was missing, my life felt lacking. It was lacking in reciprocity. Whew. My therapist is so amazing at making me understand what’s going on in me.

Yes. Reciprocity. That’s what was missing. Don’t get me wrong, I never give expecting anything in return. My boyfriend wasn’t much of a giver like me. But he gave in other ways that kept my heart full. He made it feel like ALL the kindness I was giving out to the world was being returned to me in some way. In his absence, the silence was deafening. My energy was no longer being matched in any way.

So I shut down. I made announcements on my social media accounts that I couldn’t help anyone with anything cos I was using my help. And I meant it. I took a step back to ask myself some deeper questions I had never dared to ask myself before. And they mostly had to do with WHY I wanted to give. Someone needing my help suddenly wasn’t enough reason for me to give. I mean, why was I acting like I was the only one on earth who could help? So I challenged myself to do what I saw everyone around me doing. Focusing on myself.

I pride myself in the thoughtfulness that goes into my gift giving. I like to gift people things I know they will appreciate. I don’t believe that people must just accept anything I give them because it’s a gift. I have received some gifts that have left me wondering if the giver even knows me at all. For example, getting me a diary or planner simply cos I love writing is lazy and it upsets me. I love writing but not in any and every piece of paper. A thoughtful gift to me would be a journal. I LOVE journals. I pay that much attention when I buy gifts. So I do expect the same thoughtfulness or no gift at all.

I was just upset with the world for being insatiable. This year I’ve learnt that takers really have no limits. You will give and give and give and there will never come a day when they say, “Oh no, please. You’ve done enough”. NOTHING will ever be enough to takers and it is up to the giver to set boundaries. This was me learning at 31 that I need to learn to give but within limits.

I once gifted someone money for a vacation for their birthday. Yep. Now I know that there is something like doing/giving TOO MUCH. Something that had NEVER occurred to me before. That gift was definitely TOO DAMN MUCH! I don’t resent the recipient. They never asked me for it. I did it cos I wanted to. But I would never do that again.

My grandmother was and mommy is a staunch Christian. In their vocabulary there is nothing like giving TOO MUCH. But I am teaching myself now that hold on, there really is something like that. Also there was a part of me that felt undeserving of my blessings so to justify them I had to give. Can you imagine that?! I believe in grace but when it comes to financial blessings I somehow felt like I had to earn them. As if I don’t work for that money. I have a damn JOB!! I work for my life with a lot of luck on my side as well.

I am rewiring my brain to believe I am deserving of my luck. Not because I’m the best human being. I’m far from it. But simply cos I am. I was born worthy of everything in my life, I never had to jump through 50 million hoops to earn it.

Yesterday I went shopping for gifts for someone’s baby shower. I was excited by all the cute things at the shop so I went crazy with it. When I got home I had the niggling feeling that my gift was too much. So before I slept I sorted through the things and today I returned 75% of the stuff and I feel at peace with it. That feeling of peace within my soul is what I’m after now. My giving was now unsettling me cos I don’t see anyone around me doing that much. I was doing too much!

I am now reserving my kindness for my friends and mostly MYSELF. My real, nearest and dearest. Before, I just gave to anyone and everyone. I don’t regret any of that. Everyone is deserving of help. My problem was I didn’t realize that I was also worthy of all the help I so freely dished out.

I’ve really been taking it easy these past few weeks. Consciously choosing to not help even when I can. I can help, I just don’t want to right now and I don’t think anyone can fault me for that. I’m not the savior of the world and I have no business trying to be. NO ONE’s life depends on me so I’ve quit acting like it. I think there was a part of me that felt like I had to help cos if I didn’t no one else would. That can’t be true. The world is BIIIIIG. I am just but one person.

Also, when I’m in a tight spot I figure things out. By jumping in to help without anyone asking me I was denying people their chance to also figure things out. So I have not taken just one step back. I have taken several steps back. If I see something nice I buy it for myself and do my best to resist the urge to also get someone something. I am allowed to enjoy my blessings without anyone else benefitting from it.

I’m just tired of thinking of everyone before me and frankly, nobody asked me to do that to begin with. No one asked me but nobody will ever say no to Mother Teresa being Mother Teresa. It’s nice to get freebies from Mother Teresa. I am being my own Mother Teresa right now. I don’t have to save anyone. No one’s life is dependent on me. I have no children for a reason.

Whew. So yea, this is my story. I have treated myself to simple things like my current fav chocolate without the constant “oh let me get this one for so and so”. I don’t see anyone else doing that for me so why must I be the one doing it for everyone?! There are A LOT of people in need and maybe it’s time God and the government figured things out for their people and left me out of it. I AM TAYAD.

Okay this post has turned out to be a rant of sorts LOL. My bad. I desperately miss my boyfriend who helped keep me shielded from the way everyone just really thinks of themselves first. I feel guilty most times when I go on a shopping spree and I don’t get anyone anything. The guilt is from YEARS of conditioning by my fellow givers. But I’m opting out now. Time to just give to myself above all. I am certain the world will not fall apart cos I haven’t been what’s holding it together to begin with.

--

I tell stories about my experience of being alive. Perpetually day dreaming of reading and writing by the beach

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
umzila kawulandelwa

I tell stories about my experience of being alive. Perpetually day dreaming of reading and writing by the beach