Do You Give as much as You Want?
Ever since I can remember, we’ve been taught to ask ourselves “What do I WANT from life?” We grow up constantly being prompted “What do you WANT to do with your life?” Everything we do revolves around getting exactly what we WANT.
We are encouraged to WANT successful businesses or careers and a life of wealth and luxury, so we build amazing dreams around it and work ourselves into a stupor to achieve them.
So often we are pushed to compete and win, to be the best, to WANT that award at all cost, while in the process we not only over-exert ourselves, but often ruin relationships as we lose sight of what really counts. These days, we even WANT our children to run alongside us with the same competitive fervour.
We are raised to search for that one perfect partner or even better, our soul-mates, with a desperate longing, so we spend years of our lives being miserable and lonely while WANTING that which we do not have. When we find that true love, we enter into marriage with a long list of what we WANT from them: unconditional love, support, loyalty, fidelity, security etc. Then, when we don’t get what we WANT in our marriage, we WANT out. Gosh, then we WANT them to take the blame. We WANT them to pay. We WANT them to suffer!
I don’t remember anyone ever asking me “What do you WANT to GIVE in your life?” Nothing we do ever revolves around that which we GIVE in our lives, does it?
We GIVE away what we don’t have any use for anymore, like old clothes or discarded toys. We gladly GIVE of what we have left over or what we can spare, like expired food and small change. If we have time left after chasing everything we WANT, we’ll GIVE it to our loved ones grudgingly, because then we complain that we are tired and don’t have any time for ourselves.
Why is it that we WANT and demand apologies with ease, but feel uncomfortable to GIVE an apology when we have been wrong? Similarly, we are willing to beg for forgiveness, but have you ever heard of anyone begging for an opportunity to forgive?
I remember a time when I felt hurt and angry, thinking “I DON’T WANT my marriage to fail!” and “I DON’T WANT to put my children through divorce!” but in fact, that was exactly what I was GIVING my spouse and my children: a failed marriage – a divorce.
Take a step back and think for a moment: What if we consider not so much what we WANT in life, but rather what we WANT to GIVE in life and allow our daily lives to revolve around that?
Surely, if we GIVE commitment and diligence, we will get the successful business or career with all the wealth and luxury we want.
Experience has taught us all that if we always GIVE our best, we will certainly excel at what we do and who knows, maybe even win some awards along the way without it costing us dearly.
Instead of focusing so much on what we WANT from our spouse, imagine a marriage where we GIVE unconditional love, support, loyalty, fidelity, security etc. When we don’t get what we WANT in our marriage, we GIVE forgiveness, apologies, understanding and even a way out, if needed.
Obviously, we DON’T WANT our marriage to fail or to put our children through divorce, but if it happens, we can GIVE our spouse honour and respect by being fair and civilised. As a result, we’ll GIVE our children what they WANT most – a successful separation where everybody wins and live their lives in a wealth of love and happiness.
Written by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Stellenbosch RSA)