Have you ever thought about the phrase “give until it hurts?”
I never thought about it for a long time, yet I was always giving until it hurt — for one reason or another. Because I’m all about trying to “fix” everything and make it all “perfect,” for me, money was just another tool in that quest.
Yet I never felt “prosperous.” I made good money as a financial planner, but I was completely unconscious about what I was spending it on—and you can’t feel prosperity or anything when you’re unconscious.
I never questioned my motivations or whether or not it was the “right” thing to do with my money, so I ended up doing some very foolish things, like:
- Buying a house hoping it would bring my loved one and I closer
- Covering for happy hour drinks for my trainees multiple times per week
- Signing over my commissions to a colleague who was having a particularly hard month
- Paying for a friend’s divorce attorney
- Traveling around the country on my own dime to shadow a (crappy) mentor
- Giving away thousands of dollars to friends who “needed” my help
- This doesn’t even include random purchases; this is just the stuff I can point back to that demonstrates a significant investment or output. One might think that these were isolated incidents and hey, if you have the money, why not?
How over-generosity can rob you of prosperity
But here’s the thing: if I looked closely at my history—even before I was making good money–I have always made the mistake of giving more than I got back, even without money. And my codependency, my willingness to put other people before myself was simply amplified with more money.
People thought I was being generous, and so did I. But it was a pattern of trying to get something from other people that I wasn’t giving to myself.
Many times people are looking for a certain feeling when they’re being generous. They might be looking for reciprocity, gratitude, or some sort of satisfaction. But those good feelings from being generous can only be achieved when you’re giving from a place of prosperity.
Prosperity is that feeling of satisfaction you get when you realize that everything you could possibly need is covered. This doesn’t mean that you don’t get to feel prosperous until you’ve achieved total financial freedom; it means that you feel secure in the idea that you have the resources you need, and can funnel them according to your changing needs.
I didn’t feel truly prosperous with money until I became aware of my over generosity. For starters, I literally became more prosperous because I quit wasting money and using it on other people.
Secondly, I felt more prosperous, because I started paying close attention to what I was spending my money on, and only continued spending money on those things that made me happy. Finally, I started giving myself those things, the attention and support that I had been unconsciously trying to “buy” from others.
More than ten years later, I am now much more aware and very careful with myself. When I feel inspired to make a big gesture, I ask myself, “What am I hoping to get back by doing this?” Usually it’s something the person would give anyway, like support, attention, etc. Or, I now realize that I can’t “control” someone into the outcome I hope for with money or without. Over time, I’ve also learned to trust myself. And knowing you can trust yourself with money decisions is a powerful thing.
Start feeling more prosperity today — without being a grinch.
Some people love to give. They get a real charge out of the act of generosity itself, and I think that is a wonderful and noble thing. In that case, generosity increases their prosperity, because it makes them feel good.
The single-best action you can take to start feeling more prosperity? Start NOTICING:
- Notice what you’re spending money on, and how it makes you feel.
- Notice how secure (or insecure) you feel about emergencies or worse-case scenarios.
- Notice where and how your money flows through your life.
- Notice how much you keep, and how that makes you feel.
- If you find you’re being generous for all the wrong reasons, one of the first things you are encouraged to do from a therapeutic standpoint is start savings account, just for YOU. This can be terrifying if you’re accustomed to putting everyone before yourself. But you will be surprised at how good it feels to have somewhere to turn when an emergency arises.
Then, when you realize that the ground no longer shifts beneath your feet with every new situation, you will feel true prosperity and the joys of generosity. Have you ever felt you had to be overly generous for some reason? How did it affect your feelings of prosperity? I’d love to hear your thoughts over on my Facebook page.
No spam. No games. Just timely, insanely useful content to help you grow your money.