The Giver and the Caretaker

Friend, there are those people who are always looking out for others – taking care of the needs, wants, and desires of those around them.

These are the people that when you make it to the gas station on fumes and empty pockets, meet you there, no questions asked, and fill your tank.

They see you struggling through a difficult day and write you a personalized note to encourage and remind you of how wonderful they believe you to be.

When you are sick and in bed these are the ones who show up in a flu mask and freshly sanitized hands to drop off soup, orange juice, and medicine.

These are the people that we rely and count on and, often, take for granted until they are not there.

We don’t pay attention or notice these – seemingly – unimportant niceties…

the clean folded laundry, food in the fridge, bills paid, cars cleaned, and gas in our gas tanks…

until we have to do them all on our own, until the caretaker and giver in our life is tired, overwhelmed, and done.

This is something I speak about from experience. I have been this person. The person that gives until I have nothing left to give. The person that focuses on taking care of those around me.

Often I have done this out of a sense of responsibility. If I don’t do it, then who will?

I have also done this out of deep sense of need. I have needed someone to do and be this for me and, instead of asking, I’ve had the false belief that the only way to receive was to give.

And so I’ve given. I’ve given everything until I’ve had nothing.

So many of us see our responsibility to be both a giver and a caretaker to and for those around us.

We take on the extra burdens at both work and at home, often putting our own needs and wants last.

People like us are caretakers and givers because of the level of empathy we are able to have for others, because we are typically easy going and relaxed, and – often – we really enjoy giving to those around us.

Put simple, we care. We care A LOT.

The danger?

I don’t know about you, but this aspect about me has attracted and been drawn to all the wrong people. I’ve been drawn to those, and those have been drawn to me, who NEED help yet have very little capacity to give in return.

Because of this part of me, I’ve put up with a lot in my interpersonal relationships and it has left me exhausted… annnnd guilty.

I’ve felt guilty when I’ve reached the point I can’t give anymore. I’ve felt guilty when I’ve needed something in return. I’ve felt guilty when I’ve had to say no.

I’ve felt guilty because all of these made me think and feel that I was selfish.

Friend, if you have found yourself in this situation at all. I see you, and I understand you.

Just like most things in life, sometimes the best parts of us can also be the worst.

My ability and willingness to give allows me to connect, appreciate, understand, and help those around me.

It has also resulted in me being taken for granted, taken advantage of, and left depleted.

The solution for me, my friend, has been to surround myself with good, quality people. People who care as much as I do.

Additionally, I’ve learned to say no when I need to and, instead, focus on myself in order to not give until I’m at the point of breakdown.

Finally, I’ve come to understand the importance of boundaries and speaking up for my own needs and wants – something initially very difficult for me to do.

A big heart is one of the most beautiful and wonderful things in the world – but there is no need to place ourselves last, to feel guilty when we can’t give, or to avoid saying no.

Caretakers need caretaking as well.

Givers can also receive.

Reciprocity in life is an okay expectation to have.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

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