Give & Take or Give Until You Break? The Art of Receiving

This world runs on give and take.

Ebb and flow.

Doing for others and having others do for you.

But for us empaths, it often looks like give until you break.

Or burn out.

Or get sick.

Because we are heart-centred beings who enjoy giving back and helping others. Which is a beautiful thing until it isn’t.

Over-giving leads to feeling drained and from a drained place, it’s impossible to create change.

The topic of receiving has been a big one for me this year.

I had to learn to receive payment for my expertise.

I had to learn to receive compliments and praise.

I had to learn to receive support and feedback from those who love me and those who have the knowledge I need to keep my business growing.

And it wasn’t easy because to me, giving was an addiction.

It gave me a hit.

It was my identity.

To take went against everything I believed in because I wasn’t that person and it didn’t really make me feel anything. My pleasure was in what I could do for others.

To give was exhilarating.

But it wasn’t working because the end of 2017 saw me at rockbottom and I couldn’t do that to myself again, so I picked myself up and spent this year learning to balance my energy.

And I know so many of you are on the same journey!

Whether you hit rock bottom with me this time last year OR you are just learning to receive and all it means, here are a few questions I asked myself this year that helped me shift my reality into one that's much healthier.

For myself and for those who love me.

Because as I've learned, walls aren't fun for anybody.

I'm revisiting these questions in my own life to keep from old patterns as we inch closer to the holidays, and felt they might be helpful in your world too. You can journal (here’s a download) or just read and allow yourself to receive what it is you need from their prompting.


01. What is your identity?

For so long I thought of myself as a helpful person. It was the trait others used to describe me and it became an ingrained part of my identity, especially as a social worker as social work is the “helping profession.” When opportunities came up to receive (for example, when someone offered to pay me for helping them through something) I denied because of my identity. Things like: “Oh, no, it’s okay! I just like helping!” became my reason for pushing good things away. Even when that good could have bought me the groceries I was needing. Where might your identity be keeping you burnt out, run down or unable to meet your needs? Including financially?

I wrote an entire article on this here. 

It talks about burnout as an empath and gets real and raw and honest about being a helping professional and the lies we've bought into that keep us hurting.


02. Are you playing into duality?

Earth is a dualistic planet. We see things as black or white. Right or wrong. This or that. To compartmentalize is a ‘masculine’ trait and the Patriarchy likes to put boxes around things. Including what we are and are not good at; like being a math student or better at the arts.

To give and take falls into this.

So many of us believe we are meant to be givers and that’s why we can’t receive. We convince ourselves that taking isn’t part of our skill set.

Which is the opposite of the truth because as empaths we are deeply receptive beings. We are constantly receiving information from the non-physical, whether conscious or not. The fact that you’re here reading this and resonating is proof you are good at receiving! You received the guidance that got you to this place and to the words you are needing. Believing you aren't is a silly story we all carry.

Where might you be fitting yourself into a box you are here to be breaking?


03. What are you trying to avoid by over-giving?

The reason I call my over-giving an addiction is because additions are used as a means to escape reality and that’s what my over-giving was doing. Before I knew what I was doing in business I used ‘over-giving’ to keep from the immense work of learning to run a company. It was much easier to open my email and spend my afternoons giving advice for free than to face my numbers and learn about selling.

And I know I’m not alone in this because just last week I had a coaching call with a client starting up her own intuitive business and while discussing her coaching program she mentioned wanting to include unlimited email support between her 1:1 calls. My spirit immediately countered with something like, “Is that for you or them? It feels like a good way to procrastinate on growing your influence” and then a bit on the vastness of discipline it takes to run a business and why giving and giving is a lot easier, especially when it’s something you’ve always done.

Our fears (in this case, stepping into her power and in my case, learning the mechanics of business) are really sneaky at how they self-sabotage us and our potential. Where might you be using over-giving to keep from growing through challenging things?


Want more? The conversation of give/take and learning to receive is a big part of showing up and living your life purpose. Especially if you’re an empath with a path that requires you sell yourself. If that’s you, I’ll be continuing this conversation over the next six weeks in my course for empaths in business that teaches you how to turn your gifts and abilities into a profitable offering and sell it authentically. Here’s the link to read about everything we’ll cover together.