September 13, 2018
One of the most harmful blind spots women have is a tendency to be too generous.
We are so focused on giving that we often lose sight of when all our giving is depleting us.
Do any of these ring true for you?:
• You say yes out of fear, rather than no out of love.
• You give everything—your time, your love, your money—to your loved ones without concern for its impact on your well-being?
• You put the wants of others ahead of your needs.
We give money that we honestly can’t afford to give. We say yes when a child asks for a want, not a need. We say yes to a friend or family member who needs a cosigner for a loan. We say yes to charities we support. We do all this spending, and then we turn around and say we have no money to save for an emergency fund, or to contribute to a retirement account.
We give our love to our family our friends. We are on call 24/7. We are the go-to resource to solve problems, or lend a shoulder in trying times. We are quick to tell everyone—and ourselves—we can always make time for them, for another meeting or project. But that makes it impossible to give proper time to activities that can restore and replenish our energy and perspective.
Your giving is taking a terrible toll.
As I explain in Women & Money, being too generous is a trait that holds women back. Our desire to help and nurture others gets in the way of being kind and generous to ourselves. We forget, or refuse to honor, that we need to nurture ourselves as well. Emotionally and financially. That requires rethinking how and what we give of ourselves. For an act to be truly generous it must benefit the giver and the recipient. Is your giving—time, money—kind to you?
I want to be very clear that I am not suggesting that you need to become less generous and more selfish. Just the opposite. I want you to appreciate that giving more to yourself is one of the most unselfish and necessary steps you must take to be the rock for those who rely on you. By saying no out of love, you will not feel obligated to pay for what others want, and that will give you more money each month to invest in what you need to become financially secure: paying down credit card debt, building emergency savings, and contributing to a Roth IRA for retirement.
When you embark on that journey you are giving all those you love an incredible gift. As you begin to take control of your financial life you will become calmer, more positive, stronger. That becomes a true act of generosity. It improves the quality of your life, and that in turn gives you the power to do more, and be more for others.