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Being present can be challenging and you are not required to do it 24/7 and it’s unrealistic and humanly impossible to be present all the time and to require someone to do so. Giving to your people should be a bilateral relationship, that can be mutually beneficial to whoever is involved, but giving of yourself requires you to be okay with doing it, but also be okay with the fact that you may not get the same back in return.
I titled this blog post “Giving to Your People” because I realized a lot of us don’t understand what that actually means. The act of giving in my opinion is a fundamental part of human interaction and engagement. In some ways it’s almost part of our payment to live life on Earth. Last week I wrote about needing, finding and choosing your people, but this week I want to focus on giving to your people, which to me is not only being present with your peeps, but also to be able to fulfill those friendship needs.
Different people need and require different things from you and vice versa. Most of us don’t communicate exactly what we need well enough, which in actuality is really because we don’t even know what it is, we need from people. Being present can be challenging and you are not required to do it 24/7 and it’s unrealistic and humanly impossible to be present all the time and to require someone to do so. Giving to your people should be a bilateral relationship, that can be mutually beneficial to whoever is involved, but giving of yourself requires you to be okay with doing it, but also be okay with the fact that you may not get the same back in return. Yeah, that part definitely sounds janky, but it’s the truth. You have to look at it as personally pouring into someone’s overall wellness, and positive energy you’re giving out and at some point you will get back.
There are several ways that we all give to one another. It’s a little reminiscent of the very popular book by Gary Chapman, “5 Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate”. In the book Chapman describes the 5 love languages as, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Just like romantic partnerships, friendships and relationships in your social groups can fall into these categories. Personally, I believe that most of us like a little bit of everything and it is not a black and white thing. For example, some people in your social group might just like a simple text message, a phone call, getting dinner together, while someone else may like small gifts or sitting with them on the couch watching tv (couch-lounging is definitely showing up a lot in this series, huh?). It all depends on the person.
In all of this, it is vital to be present, but not to your detriment. I often do mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical check-ins with myself because what I realized is that if one of those four things are out-of-balance, I tend to suffer the consequences. I typically do check-ins daily and weekly, to make sure your girl is good. I am the queen of texting, “Hey guys, I’ll be offline for a couple days, to get balanced,” and I do this to be transparent but also to let my friends know that I’m okay but need to step back a little bit. You have to make sure you draw your boundaries and monitor your wellness.
As humans we desire and to some degree need validation from our loved ones in our social and familial circles. Giving to your people is a great way to show you care and also show support to your loved ones. Below are some elements of giving to your people that I believe can be helpful to the think about in order for you to be more present in your friend and social groups.
Giving to your people should not feel like a chore
When you give to your people and it feels like it’s a struggle, invokes some level of negative emotions, or you just simply don’t want to, then don’t. If it’s like pulling teeth for you to be present and give of yourself to your people, then please my friend, abort mission. The flipside to this, however, is that the more you give the more you get used to it, but also it makes you feel good.
Giving to your people should come from your heart
The act of giving should come from a place of honest and earnest human compassion, thoughtfulness and care for someone else. It makes it easier for you, when giving comes from your heart but also it connects you differently to the human experience.
Giving to your people means you give when or if you can
Sometimes you may not have anything to give, both literally and figuratively, hence why it is so important to check-in on yourself regularly. Don’t feel pressured to give and be present. I’ve had moments when I had to completely step away from my loved ones for weeks at time because I was emotionally and mentally drained from other things. Other times I wanted so desperately to do more for them by sending a small gift of something I know they would need and like, but I didn’t have the money and had to prioritize other financial obligations.
Giving to your people is an act of selflessness
We all have had selfish moments and if you say you haven’t then you’re probably lying to yourself. Giving of yourself at any capacity should 9 out of 10 times be an act of selflessness, meaning your more concerned with the needs of other people, than your own. Selflessness increases your ability to love and show love to yourself and to people. I do believe it takes a particularly self-aware, strong, and kind person to be completely selfless, but certainly something we should all strive towards.
Giving to your people means you pay attention to their needs
Life requires and demands a lot from us on a continuous basis and sometimes you find yourself running on fumes, forgetting to take a break. That is where paying attention to the needs of your people is essential to be able to be there for them. This also means that a conversation needs to happen, asking what they need from you and what you need from them as a friend, as well.
Giving to your people should not be one sided
This is probably the one point that you were waiting to read. Yes, giving to your people should not be one sided, but sometimes it will be. There are times that someone might need you more than you need them because life has hit them so hard, that they can’t even be there for themselves properly. If your relationship is built on a solid and honest foundation, then in most cases that same friend will return the love and support to you eventually.
Giving to your people means you don’t keep track of how much you’ve given
One thing that many of us do, is we keep tabs of how much we have been there for someone else verses how much they have been there for us. This is a very human thing, but also can lead to an unhealthy level of comparison. If you get to a point that you feel you are there for someone more than they have been there for you, then most likely you might need to have a serious conversation with that person. However, when you give to others, you generally should not expect something in return because you are giving from the heart and showing that you honestly care for that person.
Giving to your people can help you with your own personal growth
Being there for people is an essential part of your personal growth because it stretches your capacity to care and love others. I believe one of the goals of this life is to be able to expand the level in which we connect with one another. This in turn can positively impact other areas of our lives, such as at work, school, and in our other relationships, making you more efficient and in-tune with those around you.
Giving to your people is a way to show that you care
A lot of people walk this planet, not knowing that someone out there actually cares about them, so for someone to show you that you matter and are loved in all your imperfect glory, is truly something beautiful.