Kindness, charity, generosity – all virtues. All good things to aim for, in a bid to be a valuable and worthy (and likeable) member of the human race.
But is it possible to overdo it? Can we give too much?
However much we may resist it, the female of the species is renowned for her caretaking inclinations. Of course, we have so much more to offer besides, but giving, and very often overgiving, seems to be part of our makeup.
Being generous and taking care of others are noble acts and can be rewarding for all involved. But overgiving can, and does, lead to resentment. And who wins then? It’s very likely that the person on the receiving end will pick up on the resentment, either consciously or subconsciously. Or if resentment is stifled, only to erupt sometime in the future, the unsuspecting recipient has no clue what it’s about, let alone how to make amends.
Whilst it may well be good for us to stretch our generosity muscles in the interests of personal growth, is it ever good to give to the point of bitterness or ill-will?
If we adopt the caretaking role, yet we are enraged by the injustice or the repetition, or if we make an effort for others, yet we feel they don’t deserve it, we shouldn’t have to, we don’t want to, etc… – why are we doing it? Obligation? Charity? Because they won’t do their bit?
But what is the worst that would happen, if we did only as much as we can do with a generous heart – then no more?
What if we stopped short of resentment? We may do less, give less, but by removing an insidious dark force from our relationships and our hearts, it may actually turn out to be the bigger gift. And not only to those around us. Resentment, like all negative emotions, can have a serious effect on our health and wellbeing. So whilst it may seem selfish to do less for others out of interest for ourselves, when the result is a happier, healthier, more peaceful and loving person to live with, this may be the kinder act – the best option for us and our families.
In an ideal world, a serene and comfortable home is preferable to a chaotic mess. But when reality calls for a compromise (at least in the meantime), maybe the state of our hearts and minds should take priority over the state of our home. The domestic front may well be an important battle, but isn’t it worth ensuring that health, harmony and happiness are not among the casualties?