which is it?…giver?…or…taker?

Came across a post, givers or takers, at  http://dailymusing57.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/giver-or-taker/, which really resonated with me.

What makes some folks givers and others takers? Or are we a mixture of both, but with a greater tendency toward one?

Perhaps we learned the give and take of interacting with others as children…maybe with siblings…or with parents and playmates as an only child.

Do those needing approval to bolster their self esteem give themselves over completely to serving others?

Do those having self-confidence take advantage of those without, whether knowingly or unknowingly?

What are the inherent dangers of falling into one category or the other?

And is it ever too late to pull ourselves back from being lopsidedly one or the other…

a giver…or a taker?

Me?

I’ve had difficulty taking without feeling I always had to give back right away. Still do. Once a boss, who became a good friend, asked why it was I couldn’t accept his invitation to lunch without feeling I had to reciprocate the next time we dined out? I had no answer. Still don’t.

Although I have no difficulty giving to others, truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever felt worthy of taking without giving back. Is it because of my Catholic upbringing? Or because my mom told me mine had been an unwanted pregnancy.

I don’t dwell on why it is I’m a giver. It’s who I am. And while I still don’t take material things without feeling the need to return in kind, I’m always open to receiving the gift of love…from anyone. Although I must admit, I return the love immediately…in hugs and words.

Yesterday I met with Carlos for the first time. He had stopped by to give me an estimate on the hedges and trees my husband and I wanted pruned. From the minute we shook hands, our conversation was relaxed and easy. We spoke as though we’d known each other for more than a few minutes. By the time Carlos left for another appointment, we were muy simpatico…very sympathetic. We agreed that connecting with people is what enriches our lives. Material things are necessary, but the pleasure they bring is only temporary. Exchanging hugs, I shed a few hormonal tears and blessed Carlos for being a good man.

When we least expect it, we meet others who feel as we do.

I have learned to delight in taking from others, although such generosity still surprises me. It’s like when my husband proposed. I cried, exclaiming “Me? You want to marry me?” To which he replied “Who else? We’ve been dating for 3 years. Of course it’s you!”

Another lesson learned, albeit late, is to remove myself from the company of those who impact me negatively. Folks who don’t appreciate the full measure of what it is I am giving…

…my heart…for the taking.

………hugmamma.

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the war…within

 
Aquaman along with the other prominent charact...

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After exercise class one day I had the pleasure of visiting the home of one of my friends and fellow exercisers, Laura. She’d recently done extensive remodeling which I’d wanted to see. It would help me decide whether or not to use her contractor. What I saw of his handiwork proved to be favorable…if we can afford his price, that is. We’ll see. More importantly for me, however, was the conversation Laura and I had as I was about to leave.

Laura’s a writer. Though I’ve not read anything she’s written, I’d imagine her to be an author of depth and compassion. When she speaks of her travels and experiences everyone is apt to listen. She may be soft-spoken but her words are those of one who invests in living what she believes.

One thing struck me as personally significant in what Laura said that day. She spoke of 2 inner voices residing within us…that of the ego…and that of the soul. The first is loud, clamoring to be heard…and succeeding most of the time. The second is quiet, struggling for its voice amid the din caused by the ego. I would call it gut instinct.

Ego (Beyoncé Knowles song)

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The ego is in constant search of stroking…of approval. Its appetite is insatiable. Enough is never enough. “Just one more” it asks…”Just tell me you like me…love me…one more time.”

All About Soul

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The soul, or gut instinct, tries to intervene on behalf of our own self-preservation…gently reminding that it is we who control our own destiny…not others. But we are never prodded, or goaded, or shoved into acquiescence. If we could only be still for a moment or two, we might hear our softer voice reminding us that we are valuable…we needn’t abandon ourselves in aspiring to be what we think others want.

If only we could be our own best friends…and not our own worst enemies. Ego is good if given boundaries. As my daughter laughingly tells me when I hug her without letup, “Bubble! Bubble!” The ego should be kept in a bubble…with just enough space for it to roam and be appreciated. Meanwhile the soul should be given free reign to exercise its muscle, and strengthen its influence.

CG depiction of Gollum created by Weta Digital...

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The ego and the soul need balance, the former carrying less weight than the latter in my estimation. Harnessing the ego seems to me more difficult than giving free reign to the soul. I compare the ego to Gollum, the creature in “The Hobbit” who covets the precious ring belonging to Bilbo, the book’s hero. The ego is not bad unless it obsesses, leaving the soul with the difficult task of returning us to our core…to who we are…and should remain. 

So I’ve resolved, along with losing a few pounds, to listen hard as my soul tries to speak up for me…and keep my ego in check as it strains for the approval of others. Both are inevitable and essential. How they play out their roles is managed by the director…

…me…and you………hugmamma.  😉 

manipulation, the fine art of

Words are a powerful tool. They persuade. They excite. They confirm. But words can also destroy. As a writer, I have the luxury of editing and re-editing my words. So when the final product is published, every word is intentional. There’s no taking back what I’ve written, once a reader “owns” it. What was once strictly in my thoughts, is now in print, roaming around the internet universe. Good, bad or indifferent, my blog is my legacy. I take responsibility, with the understanding that readers have the choice to subscribe, or to turn a deaf ear to what I have to say. It’s not quite the same when speaking one’s mind.

In an earlier post, I referred to my 84 year-old mother-in-law’s life-long belief that once spoken, harsh words can never be taken back. So she has lived her life refraining from speaking hurtful words. And as a testament to her, all of my husband’s family relate to one another with loving consideration. It was within this enivironment that I learned to love and value myself.

I’ve also spoken of my mom in previous posts, preferring to speak mostly of her strengths. But among the many good ones, there was one which dominated, and not in a positive way. My mom was a master manipulator. Her words could warm me one moment, and cut right through me the next. With no father to turn for support or comfort, and older siblings too concerned for their own survival, I could only wait until my mom favored me with her love once again. Until her death some years ago, I was never free of being emotionally manipulated by the one person whose approval I always sought. I’m certain I remain in her grasp to this day. My only solace is that I have blocked the past from my mind and my life. Dr. Daniel Amen’s book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life has helped me move forward by killing the “ants”  (automatic negative thoughts) which kept creeping into my brain to attack what positive gains I had made. Of course it’s an ongoing struggle, but at 61, I’m living my best life with my loved ones by my side.

Because of my own personal experience, I have tremendous compassion for those who struggle physically, and emotionally. I write to encourage, to bring hope, and to do battle with negtivity wherever it dwells. My greatest concern is that it can even reside in well-wishers, whether innocently or intentional.

Those who seek to counsel, whether invited or not, have their own agenda. It can be based upon genuine love and concern, but it could just as easily have self-serving ramifications. Oft times one who is in distress has difficulty seeing that she is being manipulated into dependence upon the one offering comfort and solace, until it is too late. In all relationships, there is either equality or inequality. Participants may be equals in that one is better at somethings, while the other is better at others. Inequality exists when one person dominates, regardless if he is better or worse at anything. He “owns” his environment by virtue of his narcissistic mentality. He manipulates everything to his benefit. The sadistic truth is when he convinces his partner that he has her best interests at heart.

Manipulation occurs in all relationships, but some are inherently more devastating. The unhappy reality is that it can be years in the making, and just as many years in recovering from its effects, one issue being trust. How does one ever trust again? How does one ever believe in oneself again? And how does one unravel oneself, from one’s manipulator?

Just as scary a thought is hoping you never unknowingly become the manipulator, of your children, for example, as my mother was of me. That is a fine line which we parents walk every day of our lives.

the greatest gift, to let our children be…hugmamma.