Where are you on the Giving Spectrum?
Life is less overwhelming and more sustainable when you strike a healthy balance of giving to yourself and giving others. Yet many people generally fall into one of two categories: givers or takers–when it comes to how they share their love, kindness, compassion, respect, truth, money, or time.
The Giving Spectrum
Imagine there a giving spectrum:
Givers: unsustainable giving
At one end of the spectrum, you have ‘unsustainable giving’ – the givers. People who excel at giving too much to others at a cost to themselves.
This occurs when you love and respect others more than yourself; when you’re kind to others but not to yourself; when you let others take advantage of you; or don’t think that what you think or want is important (and so hold back on sharing this).
The outcome of adopting this approach is that you may not be getting all your needs met; you may have unfulfilled dreams and aspirations; people may not treat you well; or you may be unhappy, knackered, stressed, or regularly ill because of all you’re doing for others without looking after yourself. Others may perceive you as a kind soul or as a doormat.
Obviously there are times when it’s appropriate to put others before ourselves. However doing this consistently over time is not sustainable.
Takers: self-centered giving
At the other end of the spectrum, you have ‘self-centered giving’ – the takers. This refers to people who adopt an approach where it’s all about me, me, me! You’ll know the kind – those who believe their own needs, rights, and goals are far more important than those of others. People who demonstrate through their actions that caring about others is secondary to them or not important at all.
Survival of the fittest is their motto, as they do what’s important to them with little regard for others. This type of person is often perceived as unkind, arrogant, and selfish – with little apparent awareness of this.
Balanced sustainable giving
In the middle is what I call ‘balanced sustainable giving’ – this is one where naturally kind-hearted souls have learned how to adopt a healthy balance of loving and respecting themselves as well as others.
When operating from here, you’re connected to your heart and put yourself in the best place to succeed; you are making the difference you want to make in the world; you frequently enjoy success and good relationships; most of the time happiness, love, and gratitude ooze from your heart. You are likely to be perceived as kind, happy, and successful.
When you’re in this space, you have a healthy balance of:
- giving to yourself as well as others. You feel you have a good life balance.
- making sure your own needs and desires are met in a way that is mindful of others.
- feeling good when you are both giving and receiving.
- being unconditional of your giving in the moment, whilst at the same time being assertive if your rights are violated.
- listening to your head AND your heart, and acting in alignment with this.
- setting positive intentions while being unattached to outcomes
- applying all the heart values (love, kindness, compassion, integrity, respect, peace, and gratitude) as I discuss in my book Heartatude, the 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success.
- In business, you are charging prices that are fair to both you and those you want to serve.
So where are you on the Giving Spectrum?
Over the years I’ve got better at spending more time in the middle.
Yes, there are still times when I slip off to the left as and put others’ needs before mine. Sometimes it’s because I want to help as many people as possible or my self-sabotage weeds emerge as an opportunity to grow. I know I need to watch then when it comes to fundraising and volunteering as I have a natural tendency to want to help those in need. However, I also know from experience I need to get better at making sure this doesn’t come at a cost to my health, family, and business. Thankfully I’m much better at setting boundaries now and pushing back when I feel they’re being compromised.
If I’m honest, I realise there are also a few moments when I flip to the right too. These tend to show up when I feel in a place of lack rather than abundance or fear rather than love. Or when I’m triggered by someone. I also recognise I can drift between all three depending on the situation.
What about you? Where are you in the giving spectrum? Please do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Often described as one of the most authentic and inspiring souls you can meet, Alisoun is on a mission to improve the lives of 100,000 people–by making it easier for women over forty to enjoy a life of meaning, vitality and to have more impact in the world.
Alisoun’s keynote talks, training, mentoring, and best-selling books Give-to-Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities and Social Causes and Heartatude: The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success have favorably changed the good fortune of thousands of people worldwide. She loves doing humanitarian work, fundraising, and living by the beach in Scotland.
Alisoun is has written the following free resources:
- Ebook: 101 Ways To Attract Great Clients, With Heart, Integrity & Social Impact (click here)
- Ebook: 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business (click here)
- Ebook: How to Enjoy a Deeper Sense of Meaning in Your Life – coming soon.
You can connect with Alisoun here: