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What is generosity really?

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Do you consider yourself to be a generous person? I think it’s a good thing to be generous. There’s nothing better than the feeling you get from helping someone out with a problem they’re having, whether it be giving them money, time, energy or just attention. It’s a universal human thing to want to help each other because it feels so good to do so.

Generous giving comes from a generous place, meaning you have taken care of your own needs and therefore you can share your abundance of time, money and energy with others. It comes from a full heart.

This is the type of giving that most women I work with THINK they are doing.

They’re involved in multiple charities.

They are involved in the school boards.

They organize and attend meetings for fund-raisers as well as keeping up with other groups devoted to hobbies and other activities.

All of this ON TOP of holding down a job, helping with family and entertaining with their partners.

They are always completely scattered, frazzled and exhausted….and they have NO IDEA why they feel the way they do.

These ladies are not giving from generosity - they are OVER-GIVING, and it’s running them into the ground. You see, I recognize this because that used to be ME.

Most over-givers have exceptionally kind hearts and are incredibly caring by nature. That’s the good part. The trouble comes when you have difficulty setting limits. I used to think I was selfless, a model woman proud of all I could do. But I realized over-giving is not being selfless - it’s really the inability to receive. You give, give, give because you think (or hope) it will be appreciated, that you will be liked (or loved), it makes you feel good about yourself (because otherwise you're worthless) or because you feel obligated to.

The truth is, if you’re not able to take in love, attention or help from others and accept it COMPLETELY, you are always giving from an empty heart.

Now think about some of your relationships and be honest with yourself.

Is your giving coming from a generous place or from an empty place? Generous giving feels light and joyful. Over-giving leaves you feeling heavy, burdened and saps your energy.

I recently worked with a client that participated in the Feel Good Junkies Group Program that discovered she indeed has been over-giving for years. Kelly joined the program because she knew she needed to start taking better care of herself. Read more of her story here for inspiration on how to break free of the cycle of over-giving.

Now, how do you know if you’re over-giving? Here are a some signs you might have a problem:

  1. You almost never say no

  2. You have no “me” time

  3. You’re everybody’s problem solver

  4. You feel anxious and stressed out A LOT

  5. You just don’t feel happy or content

If you just looked at the list and are nodding your head thinking, I’m over-giving! Don’t despair… awareness is the mother of change.

What is one thing can you do today to start shifting out of over-giving and into receiving?

I’d love to hear what you’re planning to do. If you’re not sure what is the next best step for you - I’d love to help you figure it out.