So far in this series we have talked about choosing carefully where you invest yourself and being more open to receive from others. Today we talk about giving, in the form of appreciation. This message is for all my fellow takers out there.
Each of us is either more naturally a giver or a taker. For those of you interested in the Enneagram, this aligns along with your style. As an Enneagram 4, I fall more naturally on the taker side of things. The good news is that wherever you are naturally, you don’t have to stay there, and usually your life and work will demand that you don’t. For example, if you over-give, over time you become depleted, resentful, and out of touch. What happens when you over-take?
A taker over time begins to see things as owed to them, and they appreciate what they do have less and less. They might dwell on how people haven’t been there for them at one time or another, they may refuse to help or show up for someone with the thought of “why should I? They’ve never done anything for me!” They expect to be catered to first, and then respond. In the workplace, they expect (or demand) before having proven themselves.
What does this have to do with love? If the gifts in your life are expected, not appreciated, you stop seeing them. You no longer receive the love coming to you because it is just normal and nothing special. Also, if you continue in your natural state of taking, it becomes more and more exaggerated over time, which means you feel the love less and less.
Here are two basic ways to enhance the love you feel.
Take an account of the people and places that enrich you. What are the influences that keep you going at work and at home, and that often go unacknowledged? Where is love coming to you that you are not noticing, or discounting?
Express appreciation. You can communicate that in words, with a gift, with volunteer support if it is an organization. A simple thank you is better than nothing, and is often enough.
Appreciation is the first step in becoming more a giver and less of a taker. Don’t block the love in your life!