How to Set Healthy Boundaries Around Giving

by Janet Ong Zimmerman on 02/16/2016

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Giving too much and getting very little in return?

Do you tend to give a lot in your relationship and not get the same in return? Are you giving too much as a way to hold onto your man? Is it easier for you to give and harder to receive? If you’re saying yes to any of these questions, you’re unintentionally draining your energy. And in the process, feeling unappreciated, let down, and perhaps resentful.

As a woman, giving is an inherent part of who you are. If you’re used to giving, chances are, you haven’t stopped to consider if the way you’re giving is healthy or unhealthy.

Think about some recent moments when you gave your time, support, money, a gift, or something else to the guy you’re dating or in a relationship with. How did he respond? Was he genuinely appreciative or dismissive? Did he acknowledge you positively or act like it was no big deal? How did his response make you feel? Did you feel appreciated and happy or taken for granted and disappointed when giving to him?

Have you been feeling disappointed?

If you’ve been feeling taken for granted and disappointed, you’ll want to reflect on why you’ve been giving in a way that’s making you feel bad.

Giving in a way that leaves you feeling bad comes from a lack of self-worth and shows up in these scenarios.

  • Trying hard to please him at the expense of your own happiness
  • Feeling obligated
  • Wanting something in return
  • Doing whatever you can so he won’t leave you

The reality of those scenarios can lead to being upset with your guy’s response. But here’s what you should know…

Nothing good comes from getting upset by his response because who you’re really upset with — and don’t realize it — is yourself. It’s always easier to blame him than to look within and discover you’re the one who can turn things around.

Why do you give?

The good comes from looking within. By understanding why you give, you can set boundaries around the way and how much you give in areas where you’re overstretching yourself to accommodate his needs and wants at the expense of your own happiness. Ask yourself these questions to better understand why you give and what happens when you give.

  • What’s my underlying reason for giving to my guy?
  • In what ways do I give that leave me feeling drained or unhappy?
  • When I give in ways that leave me feeling drained or unhappy, what am I doing? What’s my self talk?
  • In what ways do I give that leave me feeling at ease and happy? (Continue doing this.)
  • When I give in ways that leave me feeling easeful and happy, what am I doing? (Continue doing this.)
  • How can I set boundaries around the ways I give that leave me feeling drained or unhappy?

What have you discovered about yourself when it comes to giving?

Setting boundaries is essential

For the kind of giving that’s been draining your energy or making you unhappy, set and practice these boundaries. Then watch your energy, happiness and self-worth go up.

  • Learn to say no. Or if you have a hard time saying no, build a bridge from yes to no. For instance, if you tend to pay for dates with a guy you’re seeing and aren’t feeling good about that, instead of saying, “I’m not paying” the next time you’re out with him, say, “Would you mind getting it this time?” Three things will happen – he’ll have an excuse for why he can’t, he’ll say no or he’ll pay. Whatever he says will be good because this is one way to see how he really feels about you. And in knowing that, you can choose if you want to continue with that dynamic of your relationship or not.
  • Give based on what makes you feel happy. If your body is feeling open and expanded when giving, that’s a sign of healthy giving. If your body is feeling contracted and pressured, that’s a sign you’re overstretching yourself to accommodate his needs and wants at the expense of your own happiness
  • Give because you want to, not because you feel obligated or want something in return. Notice if you’re giving out of want, should or need. The place from where you give affects the way you feel about yourself, your guy and your relationship. Giving because you want comes from a place of ease. And very often, giving out of obligation or to get something in return, ends up causing you to feel disappointed or resentful. Life is too short to be carrying the energy of those feelings with you.

The ultimate boundary is increasing your self-worth. When you know and value all of who you are, you’ll no longer give in ways that drain your energy. You’ll stop doing too much and bending over backwards to accommodate his wants, needs and demands at the expense of your happiness. And the guy you’re with will step up, give back and appreciate you, OR he’ll leave because he was just along for the ride and using you. Either way, you’ll be in a better place.

What boundaries will you set around the way you give?  

Related Article: Create the Love You Desire By Setting Boundaries

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