By Christine Arylo
“It’s better to give than receive” — six seemingly innocent words you have likely heard but don’t give a second thought. Seems like good counsel for being a good human, right? But look more closely. Instead of seeing just another nice saying, use your wise-woman eyes to see another unconscious program running your thoughts and actions.
If it’s better to give than receive, how might that affect your choices for how you show up in your relationships? At work? For yourself? If it is better to give than receive, wouldn’t it follow that you should give as much as you can, even if you don’t have it to give? If it is better to give than receive, what might be the impact on your capacity to ask for or receive support from others?
Is the lightbulb turning on yet? If it is better to give than receive, no wonder why when someone tries to give you support — a compliment, help, money, kindness — you experience a knee-jerk response to give back. We women cannot just receive. We feel we must give, too. If we don’t return the giving, we feel guilty or selfish, and proceed to sacrifice ourselves in some other way to make up for it.
Give or receive. It’s another duality reality! Here the internal tug-of-war makes us believe we must choose between giving (to others, our work, and the world) and receiving (for ourselves) what we need.
But why should you have to choose receiving or giving? Why can’t you have both? It makes no sense to have to choose between supporting others and receiving the support and resources you need. If this is an abundant Universe, as the ancient sages teach, with infinite possibility, as the scientists say, shouldn’t there be enough for everyone to both give to others and receive for themselves?
Don’t let the simplicity of what I am sharing fool you. The “it’s better to give than receive” program seems harmless, but within our hearts it’s wreaking havoc. I see it like an insidious parasite that’s wormed its way into our internal operating systems, making it crazy challenging to stop sacrificing ourselves for the good of others, and we can’t see why. Did you know that parasites can make the animals that host them act unnaturally, in ways unhealthy to the host but beneficial to the parasite? This particular self-sacrificing parasite compels you to work and relate in unnatural and unhealthy ways, including giving too much and draining your reserves even though you know better. The result? You bankrupt yourself.
If you can reveal the specific ways you overgive, you become empowered to shift the imbalance.
I am going to break down for you the most common ways women overgive of their life force (that is, energy, love, and attention) and their resources (including time, money, and support) and as a result deplete themselves. I call these the OVERgiving Imprints, or the “OVERs.” This will give you language to illuminate the deeper emotional imprints that, like a parasite, drive you to keep sacrificing yourself. One thing to note before we dive in. This will require self-honesty. Because the ways in which you overgive in many cases are how you have come to value and define who you are. How’s that for deep?
The 13 OVERgiving Imprints
Read through each of these OVERgiving Imprints with the intention of revealing which might be running in your internal operating system. Pause after each to consider if it rings true for you, by asking, Have I been or am I…?
1. OVERcaretaking: You overempathize with and caretake others. You feel, take on, and carry other people’s stuff — worries, concerns, needs, and life or work challenges. You take over-
responsibility for people, projects, organizations, issues, or the world.
2. OVERcompensating: You feel the gaps or the needs with a project, organization, or family member and then fill them in or fulfill them with your life force, money, or time. You make up for what other people can’t, don’t, or won’t show up for.
3. OVERconnecting: You spend a lot of your energy and time connecting with others — at home, at work, online, at networking events, and more — but leave little space for connection with yourself. You spend too much energy and time “out,” not enough “in.”
4. OVERcontrolling: You plan, strategize, and organize, leaving nothing to chance. You allow no space for others to step in or lead. You overcontrol how things work and flow.
5. OVERdoing: You rarely stop moving. Resting makes you anxious. You are perpetually busy. You find it hard to do things that are not productive, just for pleasure. You go to sleep and wake up with your to-do list.
6. OVERefforting: You work harder and longer than is needed, giving 110 percent when 80 percent would do. You believe hard work is what makes you successful or valuable, so you work harder than others, giving everything your all.
7. OVERextending: You give, spend, or invest more money, time, and energy than you have. You stretch yourself to the point of stressing and depleting yourself. You don’t have the resources and time you need, because you’ve given them to others or spent beyond your capacity.
8. OVERfocusing on the future: You obsessively think about what could or will happen. You get so focused on the goal, outcome, or plan that you pressure yourself to keep moving until you “get there.” You waste your life force on all the anxiety or frustration you feel about the future. You don’t receive or savor the joy of the present in the process.
9. OVERindulging: You eat, drink, spend, or binge-watch TV more than is healthy, to compensate for the lack of nourishment, support, love, and care you receive. In the moment, your indulgence feels good or numbs you, but you end up with a physical, emotional, or financial hangover.
10. OVERperfecting: You put too much time, energy, and effort into make something an A+ when a B would do, stressing yourself and others out. You pay attention to details no one else sees, wasting life force for little return. Or you procrastinate about completing things, trying to perfect what no one else cares about.
11. OVERpromising: You say or impulsively blurt out “Yes, I can!” when you know you can’t or before you’ve even paused to consider whether you can do what’s being asked. You take on more than is possible to do in the time or with the resources you have available, and then you have to deliver.
12. OVERprotecting: You’ve learned to protect yourself so much that you can’t receive the love, attention, and care you need. You block physical affection, support, and intimate connection, or you waste energy chasing relationships that are not fulfilling or supportive.
13. OVERworking: You give so much to your work that your relationships, health, and happiness suffer. You tell yourself that one day you’ll have time for fun, love, and pleasure, which never happens, because there’s always more work.
Chances are, you relate to more than a few of these imprints; most women do. But usually one, two, or three are most present and pervasive now.
What we are revealing here together is much deeper than a few mental beliefs you can positively think or “affirmation” yourself out of. Self-sacrifice and taking it all on have been imprinted onto the psyches, cells, and hearts of women at deep generational and cultural levels. These ways of doing, being, working, mothering, taking care of others, and valuing our worth have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. Now it’s up to our generation of women to break the cycles of self-sacrifice for ourselves, each other, and the girls and women to come.
About Christine Arylo, MBA:
Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of “Overwhelmed and Over It”. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shifts happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers workshops globally and lives near Seattle. Visit her online at http://www.OverwhelmedandOverIt.com.
Excerpted from the book “Overwhelmed and Over It”. Copyright ©2020 by Christine Arylo. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.
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