Most people drawn to this article have one thing in common. They are all givers. The takers are too busy looking for the next opportunity to gain to be drawn to a missive that shines light on giving. Thus, there is a high likelihood that you are reading this article because you too belong to a club that loves to give to others. I know life has not been easy; this world can be cruel to those who are kind and even harsher to those who give reflexively. It is for this reason that I am writing this article; these words are meant to encourage those who are gentle in spirit and loving by nature.
Throughout my journey in life, I’ve come to realize that humanity is split down the middle between givers and takers. It’s yin and yang in a way; where there are people who give, there must be takers to compliment this duality we call life. Another thing I have learned is that givers are attracted to and attract takers—rarely are they drawn to other givers. It is this paradigm of opposites gravitating to each other that is at the root of suffering felt by most givers. A symbiotic union between givers and takers leads to unbalanced friendships and relationships that eventually rupture with wounded hearts and feeling unappreciated.
I write with authority on this issue of givers and takers because I have been caught on the giving side of the equation for most of my life. It seems the more I gave, the more I was taken for granted. It’s only after spending a year giving everything I had to others and ending up in disrepair while the people I gave to freely saw it fit to malign me that I finally arrived at an understanding. You see, giving while expecting is a path to anguish and providing to others in order to gloss over pains from the past is the surest way to get hurt into the future. It took a Jobian experience and a trail from South Carolina to Colorado full of hardship and tears for me to finally give up on my conniption to save others and give to myself as much as I give to others [read My Legacy; My Love].
This is not to imply that I, or those people who I identified as givers, are somehow blameless and without sin. The giver/taker relationship is not black and white, it’s actually more nuanced where most people take turns being givers in some context and givers in others. So when I say that humanity is split down the middle between those who love to take and those who love to give, I’m talking about the default mode that most of us have in our hearts. But in the scope of life, givers have been in relationships with others who they have hurt because they took more than they extended. After all, we only know pains when we are trespassed against and rarely understand the pains of others when we are the trespassers.
Live life long enough and a time comes for all givers where they have their “road to Damascus” moment. After giving all they can and being hurt copiously by different people who keep taking without reciprocating, a self reflection leads to a radical departure. This is the inflection point that is one of the most critical moments of our lives—one that determines if we earn wisdom or decide to be bitter. I speak on this from experience; it was not too long ago that I decided to be vengeful after my kindness was met with malice and indifference. I am forever thankful that I was led away from that pathway by the guidance of strangers and kind souls and through the providence of God’s grace. The worst mistake we can make in life is to let the antipathy of others change the light within us. Revenge is a whale that destroys the hunter and the hunted.
This is the reason I am writing this letter. I know that there are some out there who are going through their moments of doubt and hurt as they contemplate a way forward. In this contemplation, some will ponder if it is better to be a taker and wonder if being kind is worth it. I want to tell you that it is; even if your giving nature is taken for granted by many, I can guarantee you that your generosity was not futile and that you have helped more people than you can possibly understand. I’m not saying to be naive; be more discerning in order to avoid getting hurt by the takers who will swoop into your life because they think they can take advantage of your kindness. Give to those who are in need instead of giving to those who love to bleed others of their generosity. Furthermore, if you find yourself in relationships that are based on all give and no give back, assess and reflect instead of hanging on out of co-dependence.But the most important thing I can tell you is to love yourself first. This is the lesson I learned during my time of exodus. No one will love you if you can’t love yourself fully and completely. To give to yourself as you give to others is essential; a tree does not bear fruit if its roots are not watered. Water your roots as you give to others and you will not feel used. Lastly, don’t let love be a form of medication where you give to others in order to hide from your past pains and torment. Face your demons and know that stars are born through scars. Life is beautiful in spite of the occasional ugliness. Continue to give and in time the universe will return seven fold as you gave. #Note2Givers
Give silently, receive humbly, love abundantly, and in your travels walk gratefully so that you may live joyfully::
Check out this Ghion Cast below where I discuss the very nature of love and giving and how we can heal from past wounds.
Check out this Ghion Cast below where I discuss the toxic poison that is people pleasing.
Lastly, check out this Ghion Cast where I discuss my “exodus” and how I finally arrived at the wisdom to know to give to myself as I give to others.
By the way, the universe did return back seven fold as I gave, I wrote two books, started the Ghion Journal, and found the love of my life, none of which would have been possible had I not gone through the darkness for two years. Hardship gives birth to purpose, that is the message behind my first book “Serendipity’s Trace”.
If you are in the DC Metro area, come out to Sidamo Coffee and Tea on Saturday, December 16th as I have my first book event where I will discuss “Serendipity’s Trace” and “Soul to Soil” as well as the mission behind the Ghion Journal. Click on the picture below to find out more about this event and RSVP.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.