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Could GIVING Be Your Most Selfish Trait?

On the path to higher consciousness, we are often slapped in the face with some hard reality checks. Our mind is powerful beyond belief and while we may feel like we are making progress, there is always that one moment that reminds us that we are still human. That on the path to developing our authentic inner self, there is a lesson to be learned…always.

For me, most of the time I feel stronger than I ever have before- mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I have worked extremely hard and will continue to do so in making myself the truest, most authentic version possible. But in the never ending journey of self –development, there is a moment where the truth slaps you in the face, you receive a massive wake up call to what you have been avoiding. This year it wasn’t the moment of utter heartbreaking rejection, it wasn’t putting myself out there only to have no one show up for me and it wasn’t the moment when I was told that I was unloved. Yes, admittedly all of that hurt, but the biggest pain came from the deep cause of why I give so much.

All of my life I have loved to give to people. No doubt a genetic trait from my selfless and ever loving mother. In some cases, however, I found that the action of giving left me feeling disappointed, sad and empty. The spirit of my giving came in many forms: time, presents, energy, love, attention…you get the picture. The truth slapped me in the face when the light bulb went off…

I am expecting something in return. 

My ego piped up and told me I was being silly, that we just love to give. The light voice that resides deep in my soul lovingly said, “If we love to give, why do we feel so empty?” Ouch.

The expectation was not material gain nor anything that could be measured.

I wanted approval. I want to be and feel loved.

I wanted to feel worthy.

After many months of baking sweets, buying thoughtful presents, just ‘thinking of you’ cards and endless amounts of supportive and upbeat text messages all to the one person for the sake of “Just Because” it came to a head. I had the worst week to date that year; I was overly emotional, withdrawing from work, crying at the drop of a hat. I felt overwhelmed, bogged down with negative thoughts and utterly alone. In the midst of this, I found myself thinking, where was this friend?! I had given them the best of me and when I needed support they were not there. I got pissed off, resentful and downright angry. How could they not return the support, love, and encouragement I freely gave to them? In that ONE moment, I realized.

There was an element of love and pure intention behind the act of giving, however, dig a little deeper and there it is:

I gave for love. I gave for approval. I gave to feel worthy of life.

You see, the struggle I have had for most of my life is being ‘the outsider’. A quirky, big personality filled with many ideas and dreams not concurrent with the “norms” of society, I was an outcast. From an early age, I was left feeling like I was different, always on the outside looking in wondering where my place was in the world. On family vacations, I was an extra, left to my own devices only to go to school and be labeled as “fat”, “ugly” and “nerd”. Holidays were spent in a ball of tears and utter anguish and the schooling year, well, that was just torturous. These feelings of unworthiness left undealt followed me into adulthood where now I give all of myself to the most undeserving of people in the hope that they turn around and tell me that they love me. That I am worthy and the big one for me that I don’t need to change to fit in. Outwardly seeking acceptance for all that I genuinely am and all that I am not.

The hardest lesson of life is believing we are worthy because we exist.

It truly is that simple. The practice of it is much harder. The struggle we face is being there for others and giving pieces to them BUT remembering that we are innately worthy and equalling deserving of the love, attention, and effort we so freely give away.

I am yet to find the balance. For me, it is a lesson that is being evaluated all the time.

I still love to give but now I consciously ask myself:

  • Am I coming from love or fear?
  • What am I hoping to gain, if anything?

Instead of waiting for the reality to hit me, I am consciously evaluating my reasons for giving. More than that, I am looking at ways to develop my own value and worth as a beautiful being experiencing life on this planet. No more do I want a person, situation or material possession to be the ‘happy place’ where I can feel good. I want to experience that feeling in the still moments of life. Where I am overwhelmed with feelings of contentment, joy and pure love as the wonderful, quirky and passionate whole person that I am.

It is a beautiful act to show someone that we care, that we listen and actually hear them when they speak. The sense of aliveness of truly showing gratitude and appreciation to someone who is of great importance to us is next to nothing. The danger comes when we bypass our self to meet the needs of others, when we over-look the hard work we are putting into our life and when we seek for the love and approval that our soul requires from outside of us. We are the most important thing in our life. We as individuals matter. What we say has importance, has value. Remembering, that at the core of our life is the relationship we have with our self and it is utterly important on the path to our self-worth and self-confidence that we give to us. At the end of the day, all we have is our authentic soul. And sometimes the bravest, most courageous act is not giving to others but giving to our self.

About the author

Elle Phillips

Elle Phillips

Elle Phillips is a wholeness coach, writer and self-love advocate. She helps women to develop a deep self-love by releasing past, healing hurts, shifting limiting beliefs and saying goodbye to that fearful voice. As a human being experiencing life on this planet, everyone deserves their own love and affection. Elle’s intention is for women to see this light that resides within each of them and express their deepest desires.

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2 Comments

  • This is amazing ! Just what I needed.
    I am dealing with the same thing, I was just speaking with my counselor about this today.
    So nice to know that other people understand. I am trying to learn how to love myself and not always worry about making other people happy. That just makes so much sense that I am looking for love and acceptance from them when I keep giving.
    Love this !

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