Everyone has at least one friend who they can brag about. This super-human can juggle domestic tasks, volunteer work, carpooling, sports, family and a killer career… and still manage to look perfectly pulled together – all the time! How do they do it?
Well, they may not. You can see what they accomplish, but there will be a sacrifice somewhere along the line, right? Let’s take a closer look.
Perhaps they don’t visit their doctors as often as they should, putting their health at risk. They may also be too exhausted to be fully available, sexually and emotionally, for their lover or mate – a risk to their relationship and sexual fulfillment. Or maybe their professional work is suffering from lack of attention, which can impact their career negatively over time.
Although it’s admirable that they accomplish so much, if they could just rein in some of their endeavors, they may find themselves more relaxed and better able to control their own emotional and physical health, as well as their closest relationships.
It begs us to pose the question of, how much should you give?
Delegate at home
There is no simple answer, but essentially you have to learn your limits and set boundaries. At home, even if you’re responsible for all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and bill paying, if there are others in your family who live with you, you should delegate some of the chores. Even six-year-olds can help by setting the table, making their own beds or sweeping the porch. Older kids can take on increased responsibilities and spouses or housemates can certainly divvy up the chores so that they’re not all placed on your shoulders. You’ll get no golden trophy for doing the most work in your household! You’ll be lucky to get a thank you or a pat on the back.
Under extend with friends
As for the amount of giving that you should do with friends, try to envision your friends in concentric circles around you. The ones in the closest ring are the ones whom you’d unconditionally be there for in their time of need – and they would reciprocate if you were the one in need of help. You can begin putting limitations on each set of rings, based upon their closeness to you. Remember, you are not required to be there for everyone, every time. You have your own life to lead and you have to be able to say no to people who repeatedly feed upon your time with no appreciation of your sacrifice. Don’t want to let people down? A real friend would understand if you said, “I’m sorry, I’d like to help you plan your wedding/move to your new apartment/revamp your resume, but I’m swamped. Perhaps another time?”
Make an effort with lovers
With your lover, the rules change. This is – hopefully – your soulmate. Therefore, you can be more giving, as long as you find balance. If all the giving comes from one side, the imbalance will eventually overwhelm the relationship and destroy it. It’s important that you are giving because you want to, not just because you have to. And your giving, when it comes to your lover, occurs in several places: In the bedroom, sexual energy should be mutual. There are times when you may be too tired for a sexual act, but you may want to give it a shot just to satisfy your mate (and, hopefully find yourself reveling in it as well). And you should expect the same from them. Outside the bedroom, you can be as giving as you want to your “other half,” but when the giving becomes one-sided, you need to pull back on the giving and address the situation.
Give at the office
When it comes to work, however, our current hard economic times can put a different spin on how much one should give. Generally, the workers who are most productive are the ones who have a better chance of staying at the job when downsizing occurs. Should you work until you collapse? No, of course not. Should you be available 24/7? Normally, you shouldn’t – a person needs to expect off-time from their job in order to re-energize, hence the vacation and the ever-popular lunch break.
Then again, these days aren’t the norm and everyone must prove themselves valuable to their organization in order to count on a paycheck. Remember, financial cycles reverse themselves eventually and things will go back to normal… at which time you may find yourself promoted for your unswerving loyalty to the company. (There are no guarantees, of course, but one can hope).
Ultimately, giving ’til it hurts is not something that should ever occur. Giving shouldn’t hurt. Giving should be something one does freely. If it hurts – financially, emotionally, physically – stop! You’ve given enough.
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