Feel routinely underappreciated and taken advantage of despite how much you give and do? This week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions podcast is for you. Overgiving is where you exploit yourself through the guise of giving to make yourself feel needed, purposeful and worthy and also to appeal to others, mask insecurity or control a person or situation. I break down why we do it and why, even if we think we’re doing ‘good things’, overgiving is problematic.

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5 key topics in this episode

  • Giving is the free transfer of something; it’s done wholeheartedly and with boundaries. Overgiving, on the other hand, doesn’t come from a place of generosity and with genuine awareness of yourself, the other person and your respective responsibilities. Instead, you’re coming from a place of a hidden agenda. 
  • An underlying fear or belief that you are not good enough or that even if you are, fearing that you might not get the thing or hold onto the person if you don’t make enough effort and go above and beyond, causes you to exploit yourself. And those underlying feelings of unworthiness distort your perception of what you have to give or how much you have to do. 
  • Many overgivers are triggered by anxiety and trying to control the uncontrollable. They set their sights on something even if it’s not right for them or doesn’t even require so much effort. Or… they overgive to try to gain an advantage, compete or cling. The more they give, the more invested they feel. It also makes it harder to back away. Their efforts blind them to the reality of the situation or the impact on their well-being.
  • Overcompensating is exceeding your bandwidth, being over-responsible and sometimes going to extremes in an attempt to cover up for something. Are you trying to cover up your ‘unworthiness’? Is it that you’re trying to hide a problem in the relationship or situation? Or are you trying to make up for the shortfall of what is the other person’s lack of contribution?
  • We are not entitled to things going our way just because we gave. So we can’t decide to throw our giving at anyone or any situation and make them bend to our will. We also need to become aware of what we think our giving entitles us to do. e.g. Ignoring what someone says because it doesn’t fit our agenda

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The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon/HarperCollins) is out now and available in bookshops on and offline. Listen to the first chapter.
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