Giving What It Takes

“In a world full of givers and takers, winners give what it takes!” -Author Unknown

It’s not up to the World to take care of you, but up to you to take care of the World.

These words are from my heart to my mouth. I strongly believe this. These words can pertain to many different areas of life from relationships, recycling and saving natural resources to taking responsibility.

I find I say and believe many things, but sometimes feel like a fraud. I say that I am tolerant, nonjudgmental, and compassionate. Yet, I find myself contradicting my beliefs and statements. While I feel that the system should be there to help those in need, I get angry at those who abuse “or tweak” the system.

I can usually let these things roll off my back. Then, I find out someone that I know is doing it, and I am no longer tolerant, nonjudgmental, or compassionate. When there is a name attached to the abuse, it makes it real, and I am less tolerant. Throw in a familiar face, and my judgment kicks in and compassion disappears. Maybe, I wouldn’t be quite as harsh if I didn’t know people who take from me and not only ask for more but expect it.

I am shocked to find the extent of benefits provided to some people; and often to people who are perfectly able to perform these tasks on their own. Every non-needing person who receives unnecessary benefits takes a way from someone who actually needs them. There are elderly and physically impaired people who need and deserve benefits and can not receive them due to freeloaders. There are people who expect the world to do everything for them. They are sponges. It amazes me how some people slip right through the radar and are magically eligible for services, while people in much dire need are denied. Maybe sly skills on the part of the recipient? Maybe lack of training for the person who decides these things? Maybe just a flawed system?

And again, I repeat….I do not have a problem with those in need receiving services. Nor do I have a difficulty in assisting those in need. I have a problem with people who are takers and manipulators and expect all to be given to them. These are people not thankful for what is given them, but want to know when their next handout will be. Don’t think these people do not exist because yes, they do. Otherwise, I would not be annoyed enough to be up on my soapbox.

“My father said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.” ~ Marlo Thomas

It seems that much of society can be categorized into two groups, the givers and the takers. The key is balance. It feels good to give your time, energy, money, or services when you know the recipient is grateful or that you fulfilled a need. I enjoy helping others, but I dislike being used or manipulated.

I have an elderly friend that I often help, and she is ever so grateful. It warms my heart to do for her because she is appreciative and doesn’t expect me to do these things. Sometimes, she wants to do something in return like cook for me. I have learned to be a gracious acceptor. Her ability to give back to me is contingent on how much she will allow me to do for her. When I deny her the opportunity, I see the hurt in her eyes. In allowing her to reciprocate the kindness, it puts us on an even playing field. I know that sounds silly, but often the elderly are too proud to accept help when needed unless they can do something in return. While I feel I have always had a certain amount of compassion in my heart, I am only beginning to see with it.

I used to think that people were born to be either givers or takers, but that really isn’t the case. I was born the youngest of six children; therefore, I was born a taker. Everyone did for me most of my childhood. Somewhere in life, I was shaped into a giver. I honestly can’t pinpoint when it happened. I am guessing that motherhood turned me into a nurturer. I am much more comfortable giving than receiving, but when it’s necessary for me to take, I will accept graciously.

If those of us who are able will be responsible enough to take care of our own little corner of the world, maybe we’ll all sleep a little better at night.

Givers have to set limits because takers rarely do. ~ Irma Kurtz Cosmopolitan Magazine, September 2003

26 thoughts on “Giving What It Takes

  1. A rich theme, and I do so identify with what you are writing. Sometimes by accepting the gift we are giving one. And if we only give if we find people worthy of our giving, we end up with a lot more problems. Good wrestling with a complex issue. – Bill

  2. Excellent post and thanks for being there and giving.

    In general, I believe I am less of a giver since being immersed in fatherhood. Those days of being generous with my time for strangers are such a distant memory–I do hope to recapture the things I was able to do before. So there is hope yet.

  3. I sooooooo know what you mean about this topic, Suzie! And I couldn’t agree with you more. And I honestly don’t think you’re being judgemental, intolorant, or uncompassionate. It’s just that you can see the truth and don’t have a problem saying it. Good for you!

    I see this kind of thing going on all the time within the city I live in and it irritates me to no end. People who are able to work, looking for an easy way out by knowing how to get around the system; taking what should go to those who are truly in need.

    I also agree with what you shared about allowing ourselves to be a gracious acceptor. I had to learn that lesson, in allowing someone to give back to me and recieve it graciously. It’s about the balance.

    Wonderful post, dear lady!

  4. “I find I say and believe many things, but sometimes feel like a fraud.” I can relate so well to this.

    Of late, I have been realising, that in some ways I am a giver. I give love, a lot of love, to those who matter to me. But in many ways, I take. Yes, its all about finding a balance.

  5. I so share your same point of view Suzi…I was born in a country where poverty and struggle are seen everywhere (South Africa)…I came to Australia 10 years ago…(in my eyes and mind not the Land Downunder but the Land of Milk and Honey). I see people around me complaining about every single little thing, abusing the system…living off the “Dole” because they are too lazy to work..and I shake my head in disbelief because I cannot understand why!! I have seen so much suffering back in my birth country and it breaks my heart when people don’t appreciate and live accordingly. I also have a serious problem with takers….we have soooo much to be thankful for!! Thank you for posting and talking about this, I think we need to be so much more aware of what’s happening around us. Let’s all try to make this world a better place. Love you girlfriend xx

  6. “It seems that much of society can be categorized into two groups, the givers and the takers. The key is balance.”
    Well said Suzi! We all have to take at some point and give back but the key is to keep that balance, to give and to take in appropriate portions.

  7. I couldn’t have written this any better myself.

    In our state there are only limited things you can’t buy with a link (food stamp) card – cigarettes, alcohol,etc. That didn’t stop someone at my grocery store buying $80 worth of KING CRAB with her food stamps!

  8. very good point about being able to receive gratefully and graciously from those to whom we give. I find it hard to receive gifts from the families with whom i work who have so little to give, but their small gifts are heartfelt and I deny them joy if I refuse. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  9. I couldn’t agree with you more. I also think, perhaps, you are a giver because you are the youngest. You witnessed everyone else “giving” to you. True that could have turned you into a taker who expected others to pander to you. But, something about the experiences you had of others giving to you caused you to go in the other direction.

  10. Well said. I can really hear your passion in your words. I really loved all of your quotes in this post and I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. There are a lot of people struggling right now, but my only sympathies go out to the people who are honestly trying to make things better for themselves .. not taking advantage of others or the system that is suppose to be helping them.
    I read another blog post just a day ago written by someone who has pretty much the same frustrated emotions as yours .. if you want to check it out: http://theycallmejane.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/money-for-nothin-and-givin-for-free/#comments

    Thanks .. this was a great post.

  11. excellent write…and oh so true…working with the families that i do i see many that could move up in the world if they were not so comfortable with where they are at…i often wonder if their apple cart got shook up a bit if they would wake up…

  12. Excellent topic, if also a very tricky one. I confess I am not a ready giver but I am even less of a taker. “Neither a borrower or a lender be” seems to be my approach to most things in life and I wish I was more easily able to give freely of my feelings and more. Like a lot of things it’s a work in progress and I admire people such as you who do often take the time to do so.

  13. I guess I was always of the mindset that people didn’t change from taker to giver, etc. but you’re right. I used to be a very selfish person until I had kids. Then everything changed. Now I am so unselfish that it’s to my detriment, I am afraid.

  14. I really like this post.

    I agree that there is a balance, I am the opposite of you, second oldest of eight, definitely bred to be a giver. Like your friend, I am learning to let people give to me sometimes, be a taker as you say. That is actually much harder for me to do than it seems it should be, but I can feel how important that balance is. It’s almost a relief.

    nice post

    • Yes, Peg, you certainly might…however, I took out my rant that gave it away…think people would be shocked at the services available in the first place, but when not needed totally blows my mind! It only makes my blood boil!

  15. This is one subject that gets me all fired up with our so call system. I agree with you wholehearted my friend. It really gets that Summerlin temper of mine fired up when I see the system hand out and hand out to those who never do anything to help themselves, but yet our elderly people don’t even have enough to live on. A lot of them do without medicine, and food. biz319 is right when I worked in the deli and bakery at Food Lion I used to see them load their carts up with the best cut of steaks that you can buy. I was lucky if I got a steak once a year, and I held down two full time jobs for years. Suzi your tax money is paying for the lazy to be lazy so that gives your blood the right to boil!!!!!

  16. It’s too bad that those who would take advantage of systems set up to truly help those in need make such a bad name for others. Everything is so karmic though. I try to sit back and let that take care of everything. Meanwhile, I try to keep the mirror on myself…I catch myself doing things I hate to see others doing! I’m thankful when I find it in myself so I can be self-aware and stop the behaviors. Thank you for your caring spirit & for all you give others through your kind acts and through your writing. 🙂

  17. When I was young I mentioned to my grandmother that I liked her brush. She wanted to give it to me. I refused. My mother pulled me aside and advised me to accept it because my grandmother wanted to give it to me. I have tried to accept things ever since.

    And I recently read that accepting is giving.

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