Giving Too Much vs. Giving Too Little
I have gone through various stages of selfishness versus selflessness throughout my lifetime. Let me tell you: Neither extreme feels quite right! One results in being swept up in a whirlwind of doing and giving, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and drained. The other results in my being so focused on myself that I feel oblivious to others’ needs. This does not feel good either, as a self-centered life is neither satisfying or rewarding.
It is all too easy to say yes to everything around me and every request made of me. Surely, all of the things I add to my to-do list are worthy of my time! Moreover, it can be quite difficult to say no to important causes and people.
What I find every time that I overcommit myself is that I end up doing nothing well because I am spread too thin. This is not how I want to spend my time. I like to do things to my fullest capabilities. If these causes are so imperative to me then they deserve that kind of dedication!
I have also been so discouraged with my inability to “do it all” that my pendulum swings to doing very little for others or nothing at all. While I may not feel overwhelmed, this scenario feels wrong. Not giving of myself to things that are important to me is an unpleasant place to find myself.
As with nearly everything in life, a balance is required! I am by no means an expert on finding balance. However, as I get older and learn more about what is most important in life, it has become easier to prioritize. In case you have struggled like I have, here is the key:
Make an intentional effort to reflect and determine the causes, people, and things that are most important to you. For me, my passions are motherhood, spreading kindness, writing, and gardening. I am happiest when I am engaged in anything involving these callings.
Once you have taken the time to identify your personal priorities, make a pact with yourself to focus the time you set aside for giving on only these things. If an opportunity arises outside of your intentional commitments, it will be easier to recognize that it is time to say no.
After you have had sufficient time to form this habit, it will become clear that you are more effective than you have ever been. For me, in allotting my time and energy carefully, I feel like I have actually discovered my mission in life. Furthermore, I no longer worry about the things I have turned down. This is because I know two things:1) I would not have been effective with those things, and 2) There will be someone else with a calling for those causes; I am not the sole person who can make a difference in the world!
Once you find balance and hit your groove, you will discover that you are unstoppable!
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Do you find yourself giving too much or too little this time of year when things are chaotic? What do you do to balance things out?