It sounds counter-intuitive but the real secret to being able to give generously is not to give selflessly. It’s not to give without expecting anything back and it’s not to give freely without question.
The real secret to being able to give generously is to have healthy boundaries.
As mindful human beings, we are concerned with what’s going on with our family, our friends, colleagues and everything else going on in the world.
Women especially have been programmed to be givers and supporters of the family; simultaneously working while raising families, holding it all together while also supporting others.
When we see a family member or friend in need and we’re unable to help them, we might feel bad or guilty. Sometimes we go out of our way to help them or to give them a little push, thinking we know what’s best for them.
When we see what’s going on in the world or in our communities, we feel bad or think that we should be contributing or doing more.
In some cultures, self-sacrifice is even considered a virtue and desirable, especially in a woman. In today’s modern world, it is an outdated patriarchal value put onto women or mothers to do everything they can including self-sacrifice for the sake of the family. Over time, women lose themselves and who they really are.
Hence it is more important than ever before for the modern woman to start saying “No”, and for healthy boundaries to be drawn.
We want to give more, of our time, of our generosity and of what we can. But how do we do so without depleting ourselves? How do we do so generously without feeling like we’ve compromised our own values? How do we give without guilt or shame?
It’s time to realise that real change starts from within. We talk a big game about being volunteers or donating to charity or supporting others but we haven’t done squat for ourselves.
We haven’t done the internal work to genuinely come from a place of service. Without doing the work, we come from a place of obligation; because it’s what we “should” be doing. It’s what society and our community expects of us. And that does not always come from an authentic place.
It’s not your fault. We’ve just been programmed to constantly put others ahead of ourselves. However, we have to also include working on ourselves as part of the solution too.
Otherwise, you might be operating from an inauthentic place; a place of guilt, fear or expectations. You might be giving lip service or people-pleasing.
Unfortunately, there’s a perception that working on ourselves and investing in ourselves is selfish but nothing could be further from the truth.
Working on ourselves is ultimately an act of service because you can only be of service to others when you have filled your own cup. When your cup is full, you understand what you can give and your own value. You are in alignment with what you choose to give. When your cup is full, it allows you to set healthy boundaries, which in turn allows you to give generously within the boundaries that you have set for yourself.
Understanding your own boundaries is one of the best things you can do for yourself. When you have clarity on how much time or money you are willing to give and for whom or to which cause you so choose, is when you’re able to give generously and freely within your boundaries.
So what can we do? ⤵️
We are responsible for ourselves and if everyone in the world actually takes responsibility for themselves, their thoughts, actions and behaviours, the world would be an amazing place.
- Start looking inwards
- Reflect on your why. Why do you do certain things? Is it in service of others or to make yourself feel better or just because you “should”? Be honest with yourself
- Be just as concerned of your motivations as you are of others’ well being
- Start understanding what you’re comfortable giving in terms of time, money or resources vs what you would not be comfortable with. Your boundaries with friends or family might also be different with colleagues
- Start setting those healthy boundaries and try to be consistent with them
- Understand that you are not dictated by them and that you are allowed to tweak them as necessary when you have gained some perspective on them
- Get support to process any feelings that come up
Healing Skies is a holistic therapy services practice based in Singapore. We work with clients from anywhere in the world to provide soul-led coaching, private therapy and wellness services, support, and guidance, to achieve powerful, lasting results. Our program, Life Purpose Accelerator help women to lead a purposeful life.