kate winslet, the holiday, rufus sewell, giver or taker, give or take

Are you a giver or a taker?

Would it be unfair and over-simplifying to roughly split the population down the middle into givers and takers? I don’t know that it would be. I wonder if we are born, or manipulated (early) towards being one or the other. And while takers might learn to give a little, it’s a harder journey for the givers, many of us compulsive. Wantless, needless souls who pour and pour and pour from an empty cup believing that our (often extremely controlling) benevolence will fulfil us. But we just get angrier. And – contrarily – less loveable.

And what about the takers? Well wouldn’t it be convenient to class them as calculating genii, scheming to ensure that they can sit back and reap the benefit of their taking nature. But, what if they are the healthier ones?

Sometimes takers are just… piss-takers. But other times, takers – through therapy or experience or inclination – can educate themselves to listen and to deliver what is needed in order to keep relationships (professional, personal, sexual. Definitely sexual) afloat and moving forwards. But habitual and pathological over-giving is far trickier. However dynamic we may feel, however we re-frame the dedication, we end up resentful and our atmosphere becomes claustrophobic. We makes ourselves hard to be around; turbo-charged doormats that we are. In fact we are addicts. Only endlessly able to define ourselves by what we can offer other people.

Here’s the psych bit and it takes constant vigilance: do not do anything intended to influence another person’s feelings about you. Because that is giving your power away and it leaves you in constant reactive mode rather than active mode. So all you can do is respond; forever on the back foot. And all you think is, ‘Who IS this person? Is this all that I am?’

Takers may appear, at first glance, to be less virtuous, but givers are the ones who end up short of breath; low on self-esteem and angry. The righteous fury of the super-giver is hard to live through and hard to love.

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