Saturday, October 10, 2009

Takers and Givers

I wondered what would happen if I tried to divide people into two categories...Takers and Givers.

For Takers, they also seem to need to take from others. It can be almost anything; time, money, energy, love, happiness, dignity, self-respect, harmony, possessions. They just seem to be in a constant state of taking these things from the people they encounter. Maybe some of them are not even aware that they are taking.

For Givers, it is the opposite. They are always giving - many times when the other person did not ask, or even want them to do so. Everyone has been in a situation where someone gave them something that made them feel a bit uncomfortable; something they did not want, need, or ask for.

I would argue that both modalities are predicated by fear.
For the Taker, they are constantly afraid of not having enough.
They worry that they will not have enough food, money, time, love. There is a big hole in their heart which can never truly be filled, and a hunger that can never truly be satisfied.

For the Giver, it is the result of their inherent and unhealthy fear of rejection; they seek a type of "bribery" using physical or emotional capital to try to make sure that they can feel loved and accepted. A Giver might be someone who is dependent on an abusive spouse, and cannot leave no matter how much dignity or self respect he/she has got to give to the other partner. Another example of this would be a woman who has sex with a man she doesn't really love, just so she can avoid the uncomfortable feeling of being rejected, or a friend who pays for the groups' meals just so he/she can feel accepted. It often comes as a set together with Guilt, which is another way for the Giver to oblige the recipient to accept him/her.

It is important to view your surroundings, and you will no doubt find people who exhibit these kinds of lifestyle choices. For both giving and taking, there are healthy and unhealthy levels. At healthy levels, we engage in these behaviors from time to time depending on the circumstance, but not to the degree that it compromises our relationships with others or prohibits our personal growth.

That said, it is a benchmark of our emotional maturity when we can be balanced and neither a Taker nor a Giver. We should try to develop ourselves t0 a level where we are confident in our own skills, and do not depend upon others to validate who we are. This means not trying to manipulate people, but at the same time being comfortable enough with ourselves that we do not depend upon the acceptance of others to be happy.

Take some time observing the behaviors of others and whether or not they are viable that way.
Try to find your own balance.

More blog from Yokohama tomorrow or Monday.

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