It may surprise you to know that studies on success and happiness show “givers” to fare worse than anyone else. They are often the least successful and happy.
However, they are also the most happy and successful of all people. Are you scratching your head wondering how both things can be true?
There are two types of givers one type that gives freely but establishes boundaries and manages their emotional resources, and another type that does not.
The key to being a successful giver is to know when you are dealing with matchers or takers. Successful givers will quickly adjust their style of reciprocity to a matching style when confronted with takers.
Ironically this is a far better strategy to help a taker. A taker confronted with a giver without boundaries will continue taking. A taker who encounters a giver with boundaries is forced to become a matcher.
This research was covered in Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, and has profound implications for self-development.
The way we get treated is the way we allow ourselves to be treated. Look in the mirror of your relationships: Are you being enlarged or reduced? Are you a giver with boundaries or an unconscious taker? You alone are responsible for how you present yourself in the world. The need to be liked and accepted is universal and something we unconsciously seek. This is why we will appease, care for, go out of our way for and hold on to people who treat us with less respect & consideration than we might normally demand.
We may value generosity and kindness above all else, and want to put ourselves out for people, but we must also manage our emotional resources. It’s boundaries we need, not baggage. Boundaries provide protection rather than weigh us down with bitterness, resentment, regret, and remorse. Boundaries allow us to trust, take risks and interact with others from a place of possibility.
Baggage is an unconscious belief system we adopt based on past events that hurt us in some way. We then use that baggage as a way to justify our beliefs about the world and why we can’t trust. It is very much a victim mentality and severely limiting.
The idea is to have strong, defined boundaries and ditch the baggage. One serves you, the other holds you back.
Would you continue pouring money into a stock that was draining your bank account, had done so for years, and showed no signs of any return? If you wanted to pay your mortgage next month you wouldn’t.
It is helpful to think of your emotional health as an energetic bank account. Are you draining it? Investing in it? Putting in deposits regularly? As much as we hate to admit it, some people are just not smart investments. Takers drain accounts and potentially all our reserves as well, but only if we allow them. It’s time to invest in a savings of emotional and mental stability, by setting boundaries for ourselves.
Being successful in mindset, money, health and happiness requires a smart investment strategy by setting up boundaries or altogether avoiding the emotionally selfish. You will thank yourself; trust me.