I loved the feeling of giving whole hardheartedly and without expectations. It made my day when I saw a smile on people's faces after having handed them a gift or flowers in their favorite colors, sent them a card or helped them with their university papers no matter how stressed out about my own studies I was. I loved surprising them or offering them my undivided attention whenever they needed someone to talk to.
Many times, my nature was appreciated and I have made many solid friendships that are based on mutual respect. But I have also been at the receiving end of insensitive actions and hurtful comments. I have been hurt when others revealed to me their selfish self-centered behaviors. And despite my mother’s advice, those actions and words rarely dampened that giving and forgiving part of me.
My mother warned me that such actions will hurt if they were not reciprocated. She was continuously worried that I was being used and that the only reason why many of my acquaintances were contacting me was because they needed help for some reason; that I was remembered only in time of need because I never refused them. She advised me to taper down my giving nature to protect myself from getting hurt. Being a giving person herself and having been hurt many times before, she advised me to give those who are worthy of my generosity. But I never took her advice.
I should have…
because she was right about the hurt that came with sharing a piece of my heart with undeserving people. She was right about the confusion that I felt after having thought of unresponsive others placing them ahead of myself. Being the protective caring mother she is, she was always worried about me getting hurt by others and changing because of it.
After over 15 years, I started to realize that she was right about the hurt; it does blur one's vision and turns them sour. I was stupid not to notice things early. Immature at times to let such incidents slide passed me, not paying close attention to the details of relationships, never thinking about the true intentions and selfishness of unworthy people. I never thought about it before, never even thought that I should give them the benefit of a doubt because I NEVER doubted their intentions.
After realizing that this was indeed happening to me, I began to develop a fear; the fear of being taken advantage of. For many years after ‘the awakening’, I began to build a fortress around the walls of my heart especially with new acquaintances. I constructed it brick by brick, stopped going all out and worried about protecting everything I had; my emotions being one small part. I mean, who would want to get used again? I kept telling myself that I would be a fool not to learn from my past mistakes.
This fear only screwed things up for me. I stopped being the all-out person. I ceased to generously share a part of me and my worldly possessions with others no matter who they were. I sometimes escaped that protective barricade and returned to my old giving self again but was later pulled back by invisible hooks that cautioned me about the hurtful wave which might crash into my walls soon after. It sometimes made people feel a little uncomfortable asking things of me and I would only hear that from my husband. It made them a little cautious approaching me, something that I never had to think about before as people knew the answer to every request or question was a yes.
My husband is of the same giving nature and is many times confused by my attitudes towards others. He understands my fear and the history behind its birth but he says that it is never bad to always be the giver and be good even if I get hurt. I am still fearful of being taken advantage of but I am just starting to let go. It will take time to bring down that wall brick by brick but I know that I must persevere as the feeling that lingers, after I deny my giving self a chance to show its true colors, is way worse than actually being hurt.