“Give and you will receive” has always been a constant in my life. It has been something that was ingrained in my spirit since I was a small child. It’s basic, it’s transactional, it’s human. It is simply in our nature to want to give to those who we care about. It is common to want to give more and more to the people we find the most worthy. It is also true that we give too much to those who do not deserve it. And while you should not always expect something in return when you give out of the goodness of your heart, you need to be wary of how much you give when you enter into a relationship with someone. Relationships can be a tricky game of give and take. It can be hard to decipher who is worth what parts of you and in what capacity.
The worst part about dating is having the mental expectation on yourself and others to give and give back, but with no true responsibility to each other. You could give someone the world, and they could take it without so much as a “thank you.”
When you give too much, you give away your time, your energy, your body, your heart. You give and give and give. And in the end of it, you don’t quite get what you were hoping for in return. You get gypped. You brought your walls down, and in came the army. You are just kind of stuck there with nothing left to you but the rubble of your broken heart.
When you give too much, you get taken advantage of. People take advantage of your niceness. They find that this is a great deal for them – you will continue to give and give and give with little effort in return. And when you finally address it, you receive a big, fat “How dare you?” How dare you question the fact that they have put in little effort into the relationship that you are working to foster with them? How dare you recognize that you are being taken advantage of by someone who you deemed as worthy of your time and effort? How dare you ask for more when you have given so much? How dare you be kind enough to give, but smart enough to recognize when it has not been reciprocated?
When you give too much, you learn the hard way that standing up for yourself after the fact that you had given too much already is harder than it initially seems. When you’re new to the fact that not everyone is going to be willing to give back to you what you have given, you learn so much more about yourself than you wish you had. You are caught in a one-sided relationship. You are caught in the loop of single-sided effort being dragged on for far too long because we are all too polite.
When you give too much, you learn that sometimes life and love just don’t always work out in the way that you expect it to be. Why on earth would you expect someone to give as much effort into something as you when your relationship with someone seems to be blossoming? Why on earth would you try to make someone happy who makes you happy? Because sometimes that other person does not look at you the way that you wish they did, so you give to prove yourself. You try to prove yourself to them without having any real evidence that this person is worth your heart in the first place.
The best piece of relationship advice I had recently received was to view the other person as someone who needs to prove that they are good enough to gain your trust. View them as someone not worth your time, your money, or even your phone number if they haven’t proven to be someone who is worth the while to be in your life. As weird as it seems, view them as the enemy. View them as a bad person who wants nothing but your but your time, your energy, and your heart. View them as someone who only wants to possess you. That they are only someone who wants to take you for all that you are without giving anything back in return. Allow yourself time to assess whether this person is just looking to consume or is hoping to give you what you ask for in return for the love that you give to them.
This can be harsh, but it is a reality for some of us that tend to give too much. It is a learning process, and this has been the best way to stand up for yourself before you fall into a pattern of giving too much to someone that is not worth the time or the effort. This can even sound like common sense, but when you have been raised to give and to nurture those who you feel make your life feel full, it can be difficult to hold back from putting forth far too much effort than what is expected out of you for the happiness of other people. Because sometimes, the hardest part is realizing that you can’t always expect others to be looking out for your happiness.