Sunday, November 15, 2009

...tO giVe iS beTTeR tHaN tO rEcEivE...

I loved reading books to my kids when they were little...especially in their beds at night. We read lots of the classic fairy tales and had several other favorites that we read often. One of those was "The Giving Tree". While I always admired the tree and her ability to "give" all she had for the boy she so loved...I also always felt sorry for her and related to her in some ways.

They say "it's better to give than to receive". I use to think that was so...and I still think it is many times. However, there are today...when I just feel selfish. When my heart is empty and I'm in need of a little giving myself...a little reciprocation. When I love someone, I love them with everything that I am and I want them to know that. I tell them...often. I'm affectionate. I leave notes. I give gifts. I try my best to be thoughtful and caring. I get a lot of pleasure out of doing these things for the people I love. I've often said that I don't need the same in return...that giving love and seeing the people I love happy, is enough for me. Lately, I'm not so sure about that.

Growing up, there were many times I felt unloved. I wasn't close to my Mom. I knew she loved me, but I always felt like she didn't like me from the time I was small. My Mom never taught me to take up for myself...she never defended me if there was a problem at school. I always felt like I wasn't allowed to say "no"...that people would not like me if I did. She always told me to just take not cause a stir or "rock the boat" keep my mouth shut and suffer in silence. Even when something very terrible happened to me, she did not defend me. She allowed me to be hurt in ways that no child should suffer. I have forgiven her and have a relationship with her, but the scars are still there.

I want to feel sorry for myself, but what I realized this morning as I am struggling with disappointment, is that in many ways...I have created this. I set up my relationships this way. I give and don't demand anything in least not in the beginning. I give myself away. It's almost as if I don't feel worthy of what it is that I crave. Then over time...after I have trained people to take from me...I am left feeling empty and miserable. The emptiness and sadness leads to anger and I say things to hurt the very people that I love the most. I push the people away that I need to be the closest to me. I get angry with other people for things that I, myself have created...for my own lack of self respect.

I don't know if it's stupidity or fear or if I am somehow punishing myself...but whatever it has to stop. I have to respect myself before I can expect other people to respect me. I have to take responsibility for what I do and I have to exercise more patience. I have to teach people to treat me with love and respect...and I have to live worthy of that love...or I'll never truly be happy.

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