Check below the Ghion Cast (below the YouTube video) is the associated write up that actually goes into more depth than even the video. This what the Ghion Journal is about, combining music, video and words to deliver unique perspectives and a much needed message of love and unity.
Things that are polar opposites are really the same thing. I mean extreme heat is just as problematic as extreme cold for neither of these extremes are conducive to life. This same logic can be applied to the notion of giving too much love and being too selfish. I don’t really have to explain how selfishness is problematic as it is evident on its face. But perhaps not too many people have thought about the fact that being too selfless at the cost of harming self can be just as injurious to the person who is giving too much.
A long time ago–when I was in the throes of a relationship that was hitting the rocks, the rigors of school and the full time grind of a corporate career–I opened up a random page in the bible and ran across these words:
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” ~ Jeremiah 17:5-8
These words leaped from the bible and hit me like a ton of rocks–sadly though the words did not penetrate my mind. I did not realize back then the depth of this passage for I was too caught up in pleasing others and making my ex my everything to see that I was living a life of emptiness. It took the most mind bending journey for me to loosen my conniption to please others and find validation in giving to the world.
It seems odd, to advise people to moderate their giving. But the reason I say this is because it is good to be introspective and realize the motives behind our generosity. If you give without expectations and you are able to love without taking from yourself, by all means keep on giving for the world needs more people who are kind to counter the greed that seems to be destroying the planet. However, if you give while not giving to yourself, this is not love at all for love entails sustaining self as you sustain others. It is easy to confuse codependency for love; too often people who give too much do so because they do not know how to receive love from others.
I can’t speak for everyone but I can say this about myself. I give too much and don’t know how to receive in portion to my giving because receiving makes me vulnerable. Perhaps it’s because giving all the time is a form of control; as long as we are the ones doing the giving, that action can’t be withdrawn. But receiving is an act provided by others; maybe at the core of people who are unable to receive as much as they give is the fear that the kindness of others could be taken away. Fear is the source of the world’s ills; the anxiety that comes with the fear of not being hurt by others is what inspires both hate and self-harm. This is the common connection between those who take too much and those who give too much; both are so imbued with embedded fear that they either lash out with bitterness or try to love and heal everyone except themselves.
I ran into an emotional intelligence professional named Andrea Isaacs today at Dazbog Coffee Store in Fort Collins, Colorado. As I was testing out the television for an event I was hosting, Andrea and I started to chit chat as she herself was there preparing for an event she was hosting before mine. Serendipity! Her event was centered around nurturing others and caring for self–this world gets to be very sublime when you realize that things don’t happen by accident. When I told her about a conversation I had earlier in the morning with a dear friend relating to giving too much, Andrea shared the following wisdom:
Giving too much is like exhaling without inhaling at all. Eventually, the lung gives out and you give out. It’s the same thing with giving; if giving is exhaling, receiving is inhaling and you have to do both. If not, giving all the time will lead to a collapse.
Andrea restated in modern lexicon what the bible told me nine years ago in Old English when I randomly flipped to Jeremiah 17:5. People pleasing is a prison that entraps the giver into a desert of scorching emptiness. Giving all the time is exhaling without ever inhaling the same love that we give to others. If only I knew this lesson back then, I would have avoided years of cyclical parched existence and the wilderness I walked in for the past two years. But no regrets, for wisdom and blessings are both conferred by ways of mistakes and scars.
It is when I realized this lesson–an education gained through self-kicks and malicious licks–that I finally realized the abundance of blessings around us all. The blessings of today were copious; I kept running into one giver after another who were making this world a better place one incremental act of kindness at a time. From Andrea Isaacs the emotional intelligence expert to Mari the arts event coordinator with Popup Art Cart Rally to Sheryl with the Northern Colorado Inter-tribe Council to Teddi the artist who organizes the Women’s Clothing Exchange at Downtown Gallery; I kept being met by loving spirits and finally learned to accept the kindness of others as I give kindness in my walk.
For those of you who are givers, just pause and reflect and make sure you don’t give to the point of hurting yourself. There is a thin line between being unselfish and self-harm. The same way being ego driven and self-centered is a vice, so is extreme giving if it comes at the cost of not giving to yourself. A bodyguard who is famished and malnourished can’t save others let alone herself; the only way we can feed others is to make sure we feed ourselves in part as we impart nourishment to others. My father used to tell me a long time ago, “Teddy, the sky is the limit for you if you only stop going from one extreme to the next and find the middle ground”. There is no profit to be found in the extremes–the blessing is in the middle. #PleaseStopPleasing
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” ~ George Sand
If you LOVED this Ghion Cast and associated write up, it gave you a different perspective and want others to read and view the message contained in both the article and the Ghion Cast, share this article on social media using #PleaseStopPleasing
Shout out to the following givers who make this world better one kind act at a time
(click on pics to visit t heir websites)
Teddi Parker – Organizer of “Women’s Clothing Exchange”
Popup Art Lab of Fort Collins
Andrea Isaacs of Ennea Motions
Northern Colorado Intertribal Powwow Association
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.