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The Difference Between Healthy Giving and Unhealthy Giving

Giving can be a wonderful and beautiful thing. When we give money to help a child with leukemia or help an elderly woman get a cart at the grocery store, it is a reflection of the giving that we, as a society, deeply desire to see because in our current society healthy giving is severely lacking.

When we give in these types of situations in a balanced way that doesn’t make us feel like we are rejecting or overextending ourselves it comes from a place of genuine true love. It is absolutely beautiful and can reflect a deeper understanding of our own interconnectedness to one another.

However, the trouble is that many of us are imbalanced in our lives. We find ourselves stressed because we give with a motive of “I hope this person will accept me if I do this for them”. We give with a hope to avoid rejection or criticism. We may give because we fear losing emotional support in some way.

This is the unhealthy kind of giving and it can drain us and cause us stress if we give out of this place of fear too much. For this reason, we need to strive toward healthy giving instead of unhealthy giving. So what does each one look like?

Unhealthy giving comes from a place of fear or lack.

It comes from this place of “I need to give X, Y, and Z to this other person so they will not reject me.” When we give in an unhealthy manner we may be afraid of doing something that we truly want to do because we feel that we will lose emotional support from others.

Unhealthy giving can also come from a place of wanting to control people and situations. We may see a friend or family member in suffering and because we do not want to see them suffering, we may try to push them with advice that they did not ask for in hopes to “take away the pain”. When in this place it is hard for us to accept and watch other people cry and suffer. We reject what the other person is processing and going through in the moment and try to control it in according to what we think should be happening.

Because we are so used to giving in an unhealthy manner, we can also have trouble asking others for support. We may feel guilty for asking for help and fall into a tendency of “I can do all of this on my own”. We may feel like we don’t receive the support we desire from others, but, ironically, we don’t allow others to support us. We may simply act like we don’t have any problems or struggles and feel like we are a burden if we ask someone for help and support.

When we fall into the pattern of unhealthy giving, we have difficulty expressing our true selves. We have trouble expressing our true emotional pain and may not know how to give others the opportunity to support us.

Healthy giving comes from a place of fullness and love.

When we give healthy love it is because we are coming from a solid loving place within ourselves. We feel comfortable expressing who we truly are unapologetically and, in doing so, allow others to give to us.

Healthy giving is patient, kind, and always accepting of the moment. We allow others to fully be who they are and do not rely on other people to make us happy. We accept what is and are willing to express whatever we are experiencing without any hesitation.

In healthy giving, we are aware of our own emotions and our own personal experience. We give in a healthy way when are independent and responsible for not only ourselves but our emotions. We are in-tune with ourselves enough to know when to stop giving so that we don’t feel drained or stressed. We come from a place of knowing how to properly take care of and love ourselves. We are free of guilt for doing things for ourselves.

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Begin to give more healthy giving!

Take out a sheet of paper or a journal and answer the following questions for reflection purposes:

Based on the information provided, what are some of your unhealthy giving traits?

Now considering each of the unhealthy giving traits that you listed, reflect on how you can begin to turn those unhealthy giving traits into healthy giving?  *Hint: What can you start doing for yourself?  What can you try to be more aware of in your interactions with others?

Share some of your realizations and thoughts below!

3 thoughts on “The Difference Between Healthy Giving and Unhealthy Giving

  1. I found this to be very helpful advice as I sometimes have been guilty of getting into a habit of unhealthy giving. I have the tendency to feel “entitled” to being the provider, which can push people away.

    I think it makes sense to me, looking back, that I am unintentionally more closed up about my own feelings during those times. I think that maybe if I prefaced “giving” with something along the lines of “X is what I’m worried about, and it makes me feel Y, so I’d like to do Z to help” may help me express myself in a more balanced and healthy way.

    Thanks!

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