Thursday, January 08, 2015

Over Giving

In a very different context, someone once told me that I would make a lot better progress if I listened more and talked less. At the time, I did not know that I was actually talking too much or that is how it was being perceived. In my mind, I was drowned in the sea of noise and not being heard for the most part. Maybe being tuned out in certain parts of my life was making me overcompensate in others. Whatever the case, I took the feedback seriously because I respected the person it came from. Since then,  anytime I hear myself more than others in a room, I consciously take pause until there is better balance. 

While visiting with E, I had chance to meet many new people and listen to conversations between several strangers. I don't often meet so many new people socially in such a short period of time. Each time I tried to talk less (or not at all)  so I could understand and absorb what was being said. There was so much food for thought. I felt like I had been given an unique opportunity to learn from the rich life experiences of others who have very little in common with me. Maybe this was my chance to get resolution on things that have long bothered me. I realized for instance, that I am surrounded by over-givers. E being one of them. My former boss and very good friend B is an over-giver on steroids. Their gestures of giving are grand in scale and thoughtfulness. 

When you give and give and give and give and possibly give some more, it’s because you’re an over-giver who doesn’t truly believe that you without the excessive giving is enough. You overdo it because you’re attempting to create a tipping point where the other person will reciprocate and match you and you’ll basically get a return on your investment. When you don’t, you feel devalued by the experience.

Reading this was extremely painful for me. Maybe one day the same person that had advised me on listening more may suggest that I start giving a lot less and she would be dead right.

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