Are you a Giver or Taker? A giver will give of their time, often being the pillar of support for family and friends. Givers are the myriad of volunteers who contribute to charities, faith based organizations and communities. Their reward is not monetary and can’t be measured accurately as a marker of economic growth or downturn, but if they weren’t there their contribution would be sorely missed. You may have met the Giver who shares knowledge without thought of recompense as their reward is contributing to the growth of the recipient. It is also helpful to reflect on what a Giver gains by giving. There may not be an explicit reason for their giving and often the Giver is rewarded by emotional satisfaction. Gandhi said “The best way to lose yourself is by service to others.”
Open hearted and trusting, Givers are often naive when faced with the neediness of a Taker and they would benefit from realizing that they too, need boundaries. A Taker will often deride a Giver’s altruism, calling them a “soft touch” or weak, not realizing that by giving generously of time, information, energy or labour that the Giver has strength in their service.
Takers on the other hand, are those who are likely to be close hearted. They may present as the person who is driven to succeed at all costs, little realizing that the ultimate cost is to them. It is likely that you know a Taker or two. The person who only calls when they want something or perhaps it’s that person who, once they have the ideas or information they need from you, packages it up and delivers it as their own.
Other takers are what Sonia Choquette calls “Energy Vampires” and they are very familiar to therapists working in the holistic field. An Energy Vampire is attracted to the energy and open heart of the Giver, and unless there are adequate boundaries in place, the Giver will suffer “burn out”. Surprisingly, the Taker is often unaware of their unconscious greed, for that is what it is. In order to fulfill a need buried deep in the subconscious, the Taker is constantly looking for fulfillment by taking time, information, energy or labour that they feel will help them in some way.
Maintaining an equilibrium or balance between giving and taking and not being attached to the outcome is ideal. The concept of “Paying it Forward” is well known and you may have received from one source, but you are not obligated to return the favour.