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Stop Giving Too Much of Yourself

Updated on February 25, 2013
debbiepinkston profile image

Debbie is a licensed counselor in the state of Arkansas. She lived in Venezuela and worked with a local orphanage there for many years.


When is it too much?

Relationships take a lot of work and wisdom, and it has been said that we have to give more than we expect to receive in a relationship. The 50/50 idea has been discounted and replaced with the saying that to make a relationship work, we have to give 100% everyday.

Yes, there are times in a relationship when we have to give more than we get. When our spouse is sick we should care for them selflessly, expecting nothing in return. There will be other times when our partner gives us more than we can give them. There are times when our friend needs us to support them while they're going through a hard time, and we don't expect a payback. We're just glad to be able and available to help out. This is what good friendships are all about.

The problem comes when we begin to sense that we are always on the giving end and the relationship is lopsided. Some friends seem to drain us, always needing our help, but never having time to help us out when we need it. I have invested in relationships, writing letters, sending gifts and cards, without getting anything positive in return. I'm not hoping for gifts, but I do hope for answers to my cards and emails, and eventually I hope that the other person will initiate contact. When we realize that we're doing all the investing, with no returns on our investment it may be time to save our resources or consider investing elsewhere!

I have heard many women say they gave too much of themselves to the guy they were involved with, only to feel used later on. They regret being so trusting and wish they had held back and waited longer.

Sometimes we give too much of ourselves by disclosing too much information too soon, to the wrong person. Some people are very private, while others are too public, too trusting and too giving. They assume that their good intentions and actions will be accepted and reciprocated, and when they're not they're very disappointed and hurt.

Relationships are like a dance-I make my move, then you make your move, and back and forth. If I realize that I'm the only one moving my feet, that's a good sign that perhaps you didn't want to dance in the first place and I'm better off to sit this one out.

Relationships are also like a cat and mouse chase. As long as the cat is chasing the mouse, the mouse will run! If I am always the cat, you will always be the mouse. Sometimes I need to stop being the cat, and let you be the cat for a while...time to see if you want to pursue this as much as I do.

I might sounds like I'm advocating for selfishness, but I'm not. I'm learning through the school of hard knocks that there is such a thing as giving too much and there are times when it's best to hold back and wait and see if the other person in the picture wants to "dance" as much as I do. If not, I'm sure someone else will and my efforts will be reciprocated!


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    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Thank you Dilipchandraq12. I will look for your Hubs as well. Thanks for stopping by!

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 5 years ago from India

      Excellent article. I like the way it was written. Good hub, voted up.

      Am following you now, looking forward to read all your interesting and amazing hubs :)

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Shiningirisheyes, I think we all learn the hard way, don't we? Sometimes it takes some hard knocks to really get it, but like you said, at least we learned. There is a time when it's okay to take a few steps back and not be quite as helpful or so giving.

      Best wishes.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Funom, it's nice to know that the advice is well received and hopefully will help people in their relationships. I look forward to following you on Hubpages!

    • Funom Makama 3 profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 5 years ago from Europe

      So so true.. Thanks for the fantastic advice.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Excellent advice. I learned the hard way that I was being taken for granted in my family. I may have learned the hard way but at least I learned.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Ruby, Balance is the key, isn't it? Knowing how much to give and invest in a relationship, and when to hold back is essential but something we learn the hard way sometimes!

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Denise, it seems that we have all encountered these relationships that are lopsided and that drain us. I guess it's all part of learning! Thanks for stopping by.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I agree, sometimes we need to step back and take a deeper look at the aspect of giving. Some give little in return. Family members can be guilty of this. Thank you. Voted up and useful..

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I, too, know from firsthand that there comes a time when you have to fill your own cup. If you give and give, without filling your own cup, pretty soon, the cup is empty, and a dry cup can crack. Once that happens, it takes a lot of time, soul searching, and healing to get to the point where your cup holds liquid again! It is much better to seek relationships with good friends where there is reciprocation. That way, there is always plenty and should the time come when someone close that we love needs us, we have something to give!