Many people live with the belief that giving as much as possible is the foundation for a healthy long-term relationship. The belief is that the more you give, the more you receive. It also means you show more love for your significant other. Giving is great, right?
Although being thoughtful and giving is important, laying yourself at the feet of your partner doesn't create the balance needed from both sides. It tips the scales, and often leads to heartbreak and confusion down the road. How could they possibly leave when we proved our love over and over again, never asking for anything in return?
Many of us are guilty of over-giving. When we find love, we throw ourselves in completely. It feels so good to be loved and appreciated, so if we start giving more, the assumption is that well feel even more loved and appreciated!
But this is exactly the problem: when we sacrifice ourselves and our own life goals, we lose a big part of why that person fell in love with us in the first place.
When we give too much, it causes a displacement in what becomes expected of us. It seems that suddenly all we give is being taken for granted. We feel resentment for our partner, and don't understand why. Eventually we feel helpless and even try overcompensating, but it comes out of obligation rather than real love.
The most important thing to realize is that although love can be nurtured between two people, it is built on a foundation of the strength of each individual.
If you find that you're the type of person to over-give, try a few things:
Be aware that you have a pattern.
Make efforts to be more aware of whether or not you're falling into a relationship pattern. Check-in on how your partner makes you feel, and if you're beginning to feel under appreciated. You may be focusing your attention on your partner too much, and need to return focus on yourself.
Focus the majority of your energy on self improvement.
If you often find yourself guilty of over-giving, you need to make an effort to shift attention to finding your own happiness. Being ambitious and steadfast boosts confidence, which will make you more self-sufficient and attractive.
If you begin to see the chemistry fade, there will be temptation to give more and tip the scales even farther. Remember that your needs are just as important as the needs of your partner.
Strength begets strength.
When you're making sure to take care of yourself and re-focus your energy, a partner should feel motivated to give back. Giving and receiving should be 50/50. However, if your partner doesn't meet you halfway be ready to really evaluate the relationship.
Self-care is not selfish.
When it comes down to it you must prioritize your own self, and your personal worth. Giving yourself away entirely diminishes the person you've become, and you're pretty amazing. Learn how to say "no", get out of situations that make you feel uncomfortable, and stand up for yourself.
Everyone deserves to be in a balanced relationship, built on a foundation of love and trust. Working on self-improvement will get you closer to finding strong and healthy long-term love.
[Credit: Parikh, Monica. This Belief is Wrecking Your Love Life. Here's What to Do About It. Mind Body Green.]