Buddha has taught that it is best to live between extremes. The middle way is the pass to enlightenment. I see two types of opposite tendencies people fall into in terms of giving and taking. One type would always give. They sacrifice themselves to everyone around them may that be for their children, parents, partners, or friends at home or to their employers, co-workers or their clients at work. They believe that it is their duty, and they feel they are worthless if they don’t give. The other type is the complete opposite of the giver. They always take and think everyone else should give them everything they need. These people hardly give.
There has to be a balance between the two. Two extremes put together don’t make a whole. You know which categories you belong. If you think you are “the taker”, take a deep breath and think about people around you who take care of you. Have you taken them for granted for all they do? You have to do your part if you want to have happy, healthy and harmonious relationships in your life. I don’t expect you to change in one day, but you can start by acknowledging and telling those who always give “thank you”. Or just feeling the gratitude for their actions is good enough to start. Then slowly you can take care of yourself because you can give what you need the best. Because ultimately you are the only person you are responsible. It is my hope that you “the taker” will learn the joy and satisfaction of “giving” to others.
It is even harder for “the giver” to change. Because they believe that they are doing their highest goods by giving and contributing by sacrificing their needs. I am sorry to tell you that that is not healthy and is not the highest good you can do. Taking care of yourself is the first order of business, and without that you cannot truly give to others. I am not talking about self-indulging kind of taking care of oneself, but more about taking care of your emotional, physical and spiritual needs. Because if you don’t put yourself first and keep giving to others, your energy gets depleted, and that will show up as physical and emotional problems. You may feel exhausted and fatigued all the time, or you get sick. Or you may feel resentful and angry when you give. Then you won’t be able to give at all in the end or not be able to give as much as you would like to because you hit your limit. You know what I am talking about if you fit this category.
For those who are “givers”, please take a deep breath and close your eyes. Please tell yourself “you are the most important person on this earth, and I am going to take care of you.” Keep telling yourself this until your entire body understand and embody this message. It is not selfish or wrong to take care of oneself first. It is a necessity and universal order in order to flow the energy of love freely. You are the most important person on this earth, and you need to take care of yourself first so that you can give to those you love.