Day 251: Taking on Giving Tuesday

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It’s Giving Tuesday…the day after Cyber Monday and three days after Black Friday.  So after a weekend of running around like crazy people…of nabbing goodies out of the hands of strangers…after taking and consuming everything we can get our hands on…we’re supposed to pause…reflect…and give.  Yup, sounds about right.

That’s the world we live in.  A world of juxtaposition…polarity…a constant give and take.

I’ve written before about the categories people tend to fall into:  givers, takers, and matchers (see Day 126).  And since today is Giving Tuesday, I thought why not talk about it again…only from a slightly difference perspective since it’s the holidays.

I went to a yoga class last night that focused on the chaos of the holidays and how when we start to feel overwhelmed…frazzled…frenzied, we simply need to come back to our mat.  Whether literally or figuratively, our mats teach us to handle anything that comes our way.  That as long as we have our breath, we can calm ourselves…focus our energy…deal.  I couldn’t agree more.

But the subtext that I unintentionally left feeling was how stressful the holidays are.  They last only a month or two (Thanksgiving to New Years) but can feel like a lifetime.  Subconsciously, we’re programmed to take stock during this time.  I mean, we grew up hearing how Santa is keeping a list and checking it twice.  Trying to figure out who is naughty or nice.  That sinks in and has the potential to lay a foundation of behavior.  A foundation that leads to us identifying people as givers, takers, or matchers.  Always making our lists and checking them twice.

Since it’s Giving Tuesday, though, let’s not look at others.  Let’s turn the mirror on ourselves.  Let’s ask ourselves how we react to people in our life and why.  Regardless of how we approach a situation or person…forget your general perspective on life.  Think about those times you are stressed (like now, during the holidays)…think about the times you are weak…think about the times you finally break down and ask for help.  During those moments, how do you react to the people around you?

If you’re asking for help…in need of a boost…looking for some relief, it’s natural to assume you’d be in a taking mood.  I mean, you are asking…so someone should give…and you should take.  That’s how that exchange should work, right?  Not necessarily.

That’s the ideal.  That assumes the person you’re asking for help from…or that comes to your rescue…isn’t dealing with their own shit.  That assumes the person nearest you to offer help isn’t battling their own issues at the same time.  That assumes they are able to put aside whatever they are dealing with to be fully present for you…and that can be a tall order, especially this time of year.

I don’t ask for help often….I know, I know, that’s on me…so when I do, I come at it with mixed expectations.  On one hand, I hold off asking until I think I’m in the proximity of someone that can actually help me.  And that’s saying a lot because I tend to assume most people can’t or won’t…again, I realize this might not be fair.  Just being honest.  IF I do finally ask for help, I’m completely prepared to be let down…to be ignored…to be the tree in the woods that falls when no one is around…and isn’t heard.

This isn’t fair to the people around me, I know this. I realize they’re handicapped from the start.  However, because my expectations are so low, it’s actually kinda easy to win the race.  All you have to do is show up…nod…be present…ask a few questions…listen.  My venting isn’t about you.  My insecurities aren’t about you.  My fears aren’t about you.  Me being stressed isn’t about you.  These are all feelings that I’m feeling because of a situation…a trigger…a program. When I’m triggered, it’s 100% about me….and I need to be able to let it out…let it go.  I can’t…won’t…shouldn’t…be expected to hang onto it.  To present it in a neat little package that makes you comfortable with it.  No, that’s not how emotions work.

So when it comes to getting upset…to being human…I want to be a taker.  I want to share…release.  I want you to listen…be present…give me advice…your ear…your heart.  And I want to trust that I can count on it…lean on you….take.  I need this.  We all do.  We need to surround ourselves with people that can and will be there for us…and we need to be there for them.  We need to equip ourselves with the ability to be present…to not take things personally…to listen. We need to allow ourselves to be takers…today and everyday…when it comes to asking for help.

I’ve said before that it takes a village to raise a child.  Honestly, it just takes a village…to do everything.  Going it alone is well…lonely.

Go give today…and then take, if you need to.  It’s ok.  I give you permission.

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