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Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love, and that’s what you want. Right? It’s Q&A Tuesday, and you know what that means. We’ve got a question and it comes from Deb and she writes:
“Dear Marie, thank you for being so wonderful. MarieTV has given me the confidence to get to work and create my dream life.” That’s awesome. “I heard you say several times that the more you give, the more you will receive. I trust you when you say this, but this is a hard concept for me. My whole life I’ve watched my mom be very generous with her time and resources. She gives far more than she receives and it seems to me that this approach has not worked for her. I’ve watched as others feel it’s ok to take advantage of her: friends, family, and colleagues expect her to step up and do the extra work when it needs to be done. Watching my mom, I’ve become afraid of being a doormat. When I give, I give with the mindset of how much I’m gonna get back from this. This doesn’t feel good. How do you give more than you receive without being taken advantage of? Thanks, Deb.”
Deb, this is a fantastic question. So first we need to clarify because I rarely, if ever, use the phrase, “The more you give the more you’ll receive.” What I do often say is that my life is about what I can give, not what I can get. And there is a huge difference, and that’s part of where you’re getting tripped up here.
Your statement essentially says, “I’m gonna give a lot so that I receive a lot,” and that framework has nothing to do with generosity. It’s more like a transaction, a tit for tat keeping score kinda thing.
Here’s the thing, the joy of giving doesn’t come with an expectation of what you’re gonna get back. That defeats the whole purpose. So, Deb, if you don’t wanna be a Debbie Doormat, I want you to recognize the big difference between giving to give and giving to get. So we all know somebody who gives to get. Right? This is the person that drives everybody to the airport, they do everybody else’s dishes, they volunteer to host the baby shower, and all of this seems perfectly generous, except for the spirit in which they do it.
It’s a spirit of, “I’ll do it, because if I don’t, nobody else will.”
And that’s usually followed by this attitude of resentment, this attitude of, “I don’t know why I do all this and I never get anything in return. I guess I just expect too much from people.”
When you give to get, all you’re really gonna get is the experience of being put upon, this experience of being a victim and probably feeling like a doormat. Now, on the other hand, giving to give is where all the magic is at. You wanna give of yourself because you actually wanna do it. You wanna offer your time and your love and your heart and your resources, whatever, with zero expectation of getting anything in return. So you do something purely out of your desire to connect with another human being. It’s… it’s really a gift. It’s not a loan, not a trade, not a transaction, it’s a gift.
Now, here’s the big wakeup call you need, Deb. You can be deeply generous with your time and your resources, and you can have boundaries and say no. Here’s the secret. Only say yes to the things that you’re willing to do joyfully. Don’t say yes because you want something in return, including gratitude or kudos or appreciation.
You wanna say yes because you genuinely wanna help. You wanna give of yourself and express love and caring for another human being. And once you say yes to something, don’t victimize yourself when it comes time to do it. Either do it passionately, like it was your idea in the first place, or don’t do it at all.
Look, if someone says, “Hey, Deb. Can you walk my dog?” And you don’t have the time or you just don’t want to, say no. That’s not being stingy or ungenerous, that’s called being honest. But back to where we first started, Deb, it is true that when you focus more on what you can give versus what you can get, it is likely you’re gonna be happier and more successful. But here is the catch: you cannot do this as a manipulation. You have to give from a genuine place, from a desire to express your love and service to others with no expectation of what you’re gonna get in return. And if you need a reminder, come back to this Tweetable.
“You can never ‘give too much’ if you’re giving to give, not giving to get.”
That was my A to your Q, Deb, and I really do hope it helps. Now I would love to hear from you. I think we’ve all done both versions, right? Giving to give and giving to get. Is there any area of your life right now where you feel like you’re just giving too much and you’re starting to feel resentful? Do you need to start giving to give or is it time to start saying no? Turn this insight into action by leaving a comment below. And, as always, the best discussions happen after the episode over at MarieForleo.com, so go there and leave a comment now.
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Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV.