How much do you give before you realize it is too much? This is one of the most important questions I struggle with quite often.
A couple of days ago I gave some of my personal stuff away. As I was giving this particular person a few things I started to develop a weird feeling like I was wasting my time. It isn't the first time I have given my things to this individual and didn't receive any acknowledgement.
I am not expecting every person I give to, thank me. Now on one hand we should give without the thought of reward. We should give to those less fortunate as us but what is the limit? How much should we give and at what cost to ourselves? Some may say there is no limit. How long can you give before you become empty? This situation caused me to think on a whole species level as well as how it affects me personally. Should I continue to give my time, my attention, my gifts, and my love (as a human being) to someone that is incapable of returning the same? Would you give your kidney to someone that purposely damaged theirs though years of drug abuse? How do you deal with ungrateful people? Would you give your money to a known gambling addict?
This incident caused me to reflect on a friend's situation. She was going through a divorce from her husband of 20 years. Why where they divorcing? She was tired of giving and never receiving anything in return. She felt as if she was the only one investing in the relationship. As she put it; "I am constantly pouring my cup of water to refill his empty glass, but mine never gets refilled." While his needs were getting met hers weren't. Now I am not saying tit for tat and a person should receive the exact same thing we are giving. However, it would be nice to see a return on our investment. Yes, it is an investment of our well being. Our virtuosity and well-being depends partially on others as we are social creatures even if we lost that aspect of ourselves.
It is healthy and normal to give. How much do you give of yourself, you love, you time, your attention, your patience, you wealth and of who you are before you reach a limit and say no more? And what is that limit, if any? For me time and attention are the most special gift a person can give. Does it all come down to choices and limitations. We don't have unlimited time and resources at our disposal. How can you give to someone that isn't able or willing to accept your gift?
Is the best solution to give freely without thought of reward and let it go?