Giving and Receiving Love
I’d like to start by saying that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Not at all. It is actually quite important to feel confident enough and safe in your relationships to ask for help when you need it. It is also important to ensure that the people in your life feel the same way. We are hard-wired to be connected to others and asking for and giving help are both essential parts of this.
However, asking for and giving help is a two-way street. So many people talk about how they only hear from someone “when they want something.” Now, is it true that they ONLY call or text when they want something? Possibly. And if that is indeed the case, what does that mean? Does that mean that they only care about you when you can do something for them? Does it mean that they only love you when you are completing some sort of act of service, something that benefits them in some way? Does it mean that if you don’t do stuff for them that they will no longer love you or care for you?
The answer is quite simple: Maybe. Maybe these people truly only come to you when they want something. Maybe acts of service are their primary love language (please email me for questions on this) and they view both giving and receiving behaviors as love. Or maybe these people are just assholes.
What if you decide that you are tired of doing these “acts of service” for others and you, quite simply, just feel taken advantage of. At the end of the day, motive is truly meaningless to the emotional brain. And if your emotional brain is feeling any sort of yuck, that yuck is real and is your reality. So what then? What are you supposed to do with this yucky feeling that you are being taken for granted?
What if, however, you (yes, YOU) are viewed as the person that only goes to others when you want something? What if you are the family member that is being talked about behind closed doors about how all you ever do is ask and how you never give? What if you are that person and honestly don’t even know that’s how others are perceiving you, your behaviors, and your seemingly endless requests?
Take some time and think about the people in your life and think about what you ask of them and when you ask it. Think about how often you ask your cousin to babysit. Or how often you ask your parents to borrow money. Or how often you ask your sibling to use the car. Or how often you ask your mechanic-friend to fix your car. Consider the timing and frequency of these types of requests. Do you ask more than you give? Do you offer to “pay back” these acts of kindness? Do you view these types of things AS acts of kindness or instead as things that they “should do for me because they love me/are my parent/my friend that fixes cars/etc.”?
If you realize that maybe, just maybe, you ask more than you offer, it may be an opportunity to think about not only how you view love and how you feel that you show love to others but also how YOU feel loved by others. Perhaps you don’t tell people that you love them but instead you believe that you show them by doing things. Or perhaps you feel loved when people do stuff for you but you show that you love them in another way, such as by texting them that you love them.
Whichever side of the coin you land on, it simply means that it’s time to practice setting new boundaries! It’s time to be clear about your own wants and needs! It’s time to stop doing for others because you feel like it is an unspoken expectation. And it is time to stop assuming others will do things for you just because it’s well, YOU.
Here’s the deal. What you want and need and how you both give and receive love are vastly, and I mean VASTLY important to your overall health and wellness. Learning to understand these two avenues of connection will do nothing but serve you. So take the time to figure out how you both give love and how you receive love. Because it is worth it. And you, yes YOU are worth it. And you, yes YOU deserve to feel loved.