Happiness among Givers and Takers
A few nights ago, on my drive back home from the middle school I work at, I caught myself marveling at the give and take of the waves bordering the lake-side highway. In the rush of everyday life, amidst the clamoring of getting ready for work in the morning or preparing for instruction in the evenings, it is remarkably easy to forget how our giving & taking actions influence ourselves, and each other.
We often “give” to our friends and families in big and small ways, and lean into them to “take” support. Similarly, our relationships with our coworkers often rely on a healthy and collaborative “give” and “take.”
But what I wondered that night was why some of us feel so content giving and taking, and others don’t.
In my attempt to find more information, I started to explore New York Times Best Selling author Adam Grant’s theory about being givers, takers or matchers. I wanted to construct a formula aligned to what happy people did, so I could replicate that and create better relationships. Based on my take on Grant’s theory, here are some thoughts.
Are you aware of whether you are a giver or taker?
Self awareness is the first step towards liberation from repeated disappointments and identifying patterns in our behavior can help us start. Objective self-evaluation can easily evoke unpleasant feelings. The toughest part for me was to remind myself that:
The point of reflection is not to reinforce our beliefs about ourselves and feel good but to genuinely question them in order to uncover motives possibly buried under denial.
Givers proactively put in effort in place of others, they will even take on the mental burdens that belong to others. Extreme givers always offer help, at times even without being asked. Givers can be at different points on the continuum: giving up their time to listen to your baggage, creating and executing solutions, running chores for you, taking care of your responsibilities.
Givers essentially postpone their priorities to help…