February 16

Give By Choice


Give by choice, not by guilt. 

If you’re a ‘giver’ by nature, you understand the strings that pull you in many directions. The need to support others because you ‘can’, and not necessarily because you ‘should’.

As a recovering ‘people pleaser’, I’m noticing a new way of being that has helped shape the way I give, from a more powerful place.

In the past, I often felt a sense of obligation to help others - because I was available, or because others had cancelled last minute, or whatever, and I felt that because I ‘could’ do something, I often did. And it affected me unknowingly, in a negative way, and in more ways than one.

Not only did I become the ‘go to’ person to pick up the slack for others, but I started to feel overworked, and under-appreciated. I didn’t make time for myself because I was always in service for others.

The result? A dry well.

There's a reason the airlines tell you to apply your own oxygen mask first, before assisting others. Because if YOU can’t breathe, what are the chances you can help anybody else?

Today I received a call out for help because there were last minute cancellations. I paused briefly to consider if I would answer the call. My heart said yes! But my head reminded me that it is a three day weekend, where I will be losing an extra day of work already, and losing another day on my business is not what I need to propel me forward right now.

I also noticed that by allowing myself to CHOOSE whether I would help out or not left me feeling empowered and cared for - by me. It also made me realize that by saying ‘no’ today, allowed me to say ‘yes’ to other things when I choose to. And THAT is a very healthy and powerful place to give from. Because when I say by choice, and not by guilt, it really IS a gift, and the impact is felt not just from those receiving, but in my heart, too.

We are instructed to give with a grateful heart. If our hearts aren’t grateful when we’re giving, then we are actually negatively impacting ourself and those around us. Have you ever noticed when someone is huffing and puffing while they volunteer? Isn’t it annoying and frustrating? Don’t you just want to say, ‘be happy, or please get out of here!’? Giving with an unhappy heart does THAT.

So don’t do that. It’s ok to say ‘no’, or ‘I’m unable to help today’, and to keep an open heart for the next opportunity.

Your cup of love and joy will overflow far greater when you remember to honour yourself and your own commitments too.

May your cup run over, always.

Thoughtfully yours,


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About the Author

Jennifer Maxwell

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