Giving’ is a word that conjures up different feelings in different people. This year alone, giving in all its many forms has been highly significant to me on a personal level.
After giving myself a hard time for far too long, I made changes. I gave myself the opportunity to grow by giving up a career that no longer served me. I knew I was doing the right thing and that giving up was not a bad thing.
I’ve also given up on the idea of perfectionism and relinquished control (where I can) in order to breathe a bit more deeply. I tried and failed to micromanage everything that I could and was exhausted by it. I tried to forecast the future and aimed to always be one step ahead, but it actually just pulled me back. It’s a work in progress and some days are easier than others, but hey, that’s life.
Today I’m trying my best to let go of the burdens that weigh me down. Burdens that had manifested themselves in feelings of inadequacy.
“I give myself permission to feel what I feel and experience vulnerability.”
I give myself permission to feel what I feel and experience vulnerability. This sounds like I’ve nailed it, but believe me, I can still be my own worst enemy. It is working though, and my personal relationships are benefiting. I’m no longer wearing the mask, the wall is down and I’m here, still standing despite being broken (mentally and physically). So now it’s more a case of ‘take me as you find me.’ There’s no pretence—I gave up pretending!
It really gets me when I hear people talk about ‘giving something up’ as if it’s some game you’ve lost. It gives the impression that you’ve failed and didn’t try hard enough to make something work. I believe there’s always another road, and I’d much rather admit what isn’t working for me than be a martyr for the sake of appearances. Sod that—life’s too short! The question is: is it really all that bad to give up something if it no longer works for us or causes us pain? The answer, my answer, is simply ‘no.’
If your GP or Consultant told you to give up alcohol/cigarettes/sugar or risk terminal illness, would you? Wouldn’t this be considered a positive step forward? The same can be said about giving up toxic relationships or situations.
It shouldn’t be considered a failure if we accept that something is causing us pain, loss, or love. Giving in to our emotions is to truly acknowledge and accept them, which we need to do in order to move on. Self-awareness is not a failure; it’s success, it’s bravery.
In fact, we could all use more of this. Aren’t we in the midst of a severe mental health crisis where men in particular are silently suffering rather than speaking up about the state of their mental health and wellbeing? We should bloody well all be giving ourselves a break!
This year I’ve also given more of myself. I started training to be a peer support volunteer for a charity that I really believe in and feel passionate about. I’m all about the third sector these days; I began a new role working for a local charity and it’s totally reinforced my belief that charity work and volunteering is mutually worthwhile and beneficial to everyone involved. Haven’t we all heard, ‘There’s no greater gift than the gift of time’? It’s a cliché but it’s true.
The concept of giving isn’t something outwith our grasp. It occurs naturally in the everyday things we do, and often without us noticing. Giving someone a smile, giving someone the chance to move ahead of you during traffic, giving courtesy to another by holding a door, giving items to charity, giving time, giving love and affection to family and yourself! There are so many positive dimensions to giving.
Of course, there’s a flip side to all this. Social media is all: ‘give zero fucks’ and ‘couldn’t give a shit.’ We’ve all said it—I’m no saint and I’ll admit I utter these very words on a regular basis. But I do give a fuck and I do give a shit about the things that matter.
The reason why I won’t give up on giving is because the act of giving doesn’t discriminate. On some scale, big or small, everyone can do it and everyone can benefit from it. The opportunity to give is everywhere; we just need to take it.