Give With Love But Without Expectations

Dara LevanBlogLeave a Comment

I had a revelation today. The impetus for this “aha” moment initially agitated and infuriated me. When I got home, I pondered why a seemingly superficial situation sparked such an inwardly intense response. It’s intriguing because I am clearly shifting as I evolve. Five years ago, this would not have bothered me a bit.

Before elaborating further, I will fully disclose that punctuality is not my forte. According to my husband, if you are on time you are already late. I am in awe of his extraordinary ability to arrive early to any destination; he rarely looks at his watch and somehow knows the precise time! It’s one of his many qualities I so admire. The past few years, I have worked diligently to arrive earlier (or at least on time!).

Late arrivals are a rarity for weddings, funerals, births, plane departures, and other “if you miss this it’ll never happen again” occasions. If a person indicates that punctuality is important, I try my absolute best to arrive on time. For instance, my kids’ orthodontist, whose office is far from my home, is consistently punctual. I appreciate the doctors’ care and consideration for others. I am thankful the office staff clearly stated this, too, during our initial visit. I’ve never been late to an appointment, which is a minor miracle!

I am admittedly that gal who is often 5-10 minutes behind. My days are like overstuffed luggage! Although I have worked in recent months to create space, rearranging and removing items from the calendar is a work in progress. If I am delayed, I always call the person with whom I am meeting. And I try to be flexible with others if they are late because I certainly get it.

Today’s piece is about giving without expectation. It has little to do with tardiness or time. I explained all of the above because it inspired this post. I had an appointment Saturday with someone who expressed to me years ago that she is “always on time.” Therefore, I’ve made a concerted effort to be prompt. Sometimes unanticipated moments arise that are out of my control; isn’t that yet another theme for us all?

Open communication is something I value immensely. I am mindful about how I express myself, and I consider the way in which messages may be interpreted. I have asked repeatedly if she’s ever delayed to kindly text me or have someone else call. Yet she’s  repeatedly been late in recent months. I don’t mean 15 minutes–more like 30 minutes and up to two hours late. I’ve changed my schedule to accommodate her multiple times when in a service industry it’s typically the other way around. But that’s okay because life happens, and until yesterday, I was happy to help whenever possible.

I was furious Saturday. I have boundlessly given compassion, kindness, and more to this person. Here is the “aha” moment: As I continue on a reflective path of self-growth, I have noticed a pattern. I am a giver, and in the past, I’ve given to depletion. For those of you who are givers—you know who you are—I hope you connect and relate. When I use the word “giver,” it is not intended as a holier-than-thou statement. It is simply a fact. There are others who are somewhere in the middle. And then there are “takers.”

Takers love givers. We are like an all-you-can-eat buffet! Takers feast on heaping, endless portions of givers. (I wrote about energy vampires in an earlier blog so I won’t rehash that topic. Takers are a type of energy vamp.) And if we allow it, takers help themselves to free refills and extra servings.

So what is the enlightening epiphany? I am rapidly learning the lessons on setting boundaries, and I’m proud of my acceleration in this area. But what I didn’t fully understand until now is giving without expectations. I honestly thought that I consistently live and love in that way. My reaction today, and quite frankly in a few past situations, showed me otherwise.

I do not condone giving to depletion. I will no longer share my heart with those who are toxic or takers. The person about whom I speak today? She is not a taker. She is a well-intentioned, hard working person who is unfortunately unreceptive and defensive. 

Unbeknownst to me, I gave abundantly to her with expectations. There was no apology nor accountability for her unprofessionalism. I felt taken for granted. I felt frustrated. I felt exasperated. All of those feelings are valid and warranted. I have definitive, unapologetic expectations to which I will freely admit. I do expect my friends to be honest and loyal. I expect professionalism and respect in the workplace, community, and other arenas.

But there is a deeper lesson here, and I am determined to master it. Many people I have encountered, and I am sure you have as well, give with an agenda or a “you owe me” energy. I do not. I will not. I have not.

Saturday I felt like enough is enough. The takeaway is that I will continue to give from my heart as always. I know no other way. But I need to pause and check in with myself. I must remind myself to give with unattached love. I realize that some people, even dear ones, may let me down. They have in the past, and I am sure they will continue to do so.

I am blessed with several close friends and family members who I adore. Some of these people have unknowingly drained the fountain from which I give. And I own my part in that because I allowed it. But we must meet people where they are at if we can. Or we can make the conscious decision to change directions. Revising your map and compass may result in ending a relationship, taking a break, or accepting someone where they are.

In this case, I appreciate this person’s creativity and talent. I am grateful for her the past few years, I honor her work, and I wish her well. I have also decided to quietly, graciously walk away. And I am thankful for the interactions with her and the wisdom gained that influenced today’s blog post.

As our vibration changes, shifts occur in both subtle and bold ways. What or who was perhaps once harmonious for us may not be anymore. Our awareness also expands, and we have the free will to choose differently. There are souls who are unable or unwillingly to reciprocate what we give, and that is ok, too. I will continue to give with and from my heart—today, tomorrow, and always. But lesson learned–I will give discerningly, authentically, lovingly, and without expectations. 

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