“Givers need to set boundaries because takers rarely do” – Rachel Wolchin
What you bring to the table is important, why? because it determines how long you will sit at the table. People can easily be isolated into 2 groups: Givers and Takers, and this is as a result of how we relate with the people around us.
A Giver is always trying to figure out what they can do for others. “How can I be of assistance?” is the foremost thought for a Giver. A Taker is always trying to figure out how to gain something from a situation. A Giver is spiritually developed while a Taker is not. A Giver listens more than a Taker. A Giver wants to make a difference, while a Taker wants to understand what’s in it for them. Givers see need in people and the things around them while Takers are always seeking attention and opportunity. Givers give their 100% to whatever they do and are always willing to help someone else, whereas Takers don’t give their all and then whine about their schedules. Givers enrich the lives of the people they meet and make people around them happy, while Takers can be draining. Givers are happy people while Takers are not.
Poet, Shel Silverstein wrote The Giving Tree which is a story about the interactions between a tree and a boy. The boy is a Taker and constantly wants things from the Giving Tree. When he’s little, he wants to climb the tree and play on it. When he grows a little older, he takes the apples the tree produces and sells them to make money, and the tree happily gives him what he desires. When he grows older still and needs wood to build a house, he comes back to the tree with another ask, and the tree gladly offers her branches to him to cut down. This taking from the boy and the giving from the tree continues until the boy becomes and old man and all that’s left of the tree is a stump for him to rest on. The story is brilliant and teaches us an extremely important life-lesson: there is happiness in Giving and sadness in Taking.
We do this in our everyday lives, myself included. Once we see a table has been set and we are invited we never think to bring anything to the table. And when we sit at the table for the first time and eat, we feel entitled to be there so we keep coming back.
You know those people in your life I’m talking about right? The ones you never hear from unless they need something. They are the ones that only call me when they hear you are coming to town for a gig and want free tickets. The ones who start messages with, “Hey can you send me xxxx, and also how do you do this? Oh and how are YOU???” Those that say can you do this for me for free, even when they know your side hustle is your means for survival.
Yeah, those are takers.
Now, they probably don’t know they’re takers either, and like I said, I’ve been one. I remember calling someone in a hurry, asked a bunch of questions, then hung up and didn’t ask how he was. I realised I did it too, and he called me on it, thankfully. But it’s annoying to be on the receiving end right?
If you’re a taker, I’m not judging you. I know life is busy, and you need something quickly, and you probably aren’t thinking about how the other person is going to receive your message, you just need an answer. The problem is, if you keep taking, and taking, and taking, you’re going to be mighty lonely. Because we rise by lifting others. By helping and giving. By remaining grateful. Here’s a few tips to help you bring something to the table.
Don’t Be A Leech
Chances are if you are reading this someone sent it to you, or you might have found it somewhere on the internet. Please don’t take it personally (one of the Four Agreements, read the book here). I mean well and just want you to know that you’re kind of being a leech and it’s time to stop. Please don’t be defensive, just own up to it, and do better tomorrow. We all screw up, including me. (see above.) You can’t keep sitting at other peoples tables and just eating when you never invite them to your table. Then you have the nerve to comment on how they serve their food? Come on now, this freeloading has got to stop.
Don’t forget good manners
Stop feeling entitled and realise it is a privilege to sit at someone’s table. So when you are there please show some good manners. Greet and ask people how they are doing, conversation might be all you have to bring to the table for you to stay. Just because I can set a table it doesn’t mean all is well in my environment. So just have the decency and respect to be well mannered.
Gratitude gets you far in life. A simple thank you in person, over the phone or text will go a long way. It’s so important to remember how lucky we are every single day. To realise how lucky we are to have so many blessings and people in our lives. Just by taking a few minutes a day to recognise this allows you to remember not only the things you have but the family and friends you love as well.
Seriously just do something nice for someone just because. If you work online, share a friend’s blog post or retweet them. If an office is your place of biz, then bring a cupcake back for your co-worker at lunch. Or send an email to someone to see how they are, not because you need something, but because you care. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gift or gesture, it just has to mean something to you. Mother Theresa said “it’s not the amount you give that matters but the heart you give with.” I remember a friend who would always bring the same fruit with him when he came to visit. Truth was it was all he could afford to bring, but we never got tired of it because we could see where his heart was.
Take time to self assess and be truthful with yourself. There are times you have been nothing but a taker, physically, emotionally and financially. It doesn’t make you a horrible person but if you continue doing it now that you know then well, you are horrible. Make it a point to help others, especially those that help you. Support your sphere even with something as little as a thank you. We all have something to bring to the table, lets be selfless and not selfish. Let’s be great!