Some people live life being just on the take – looking at what they can get out of every situation.
They’re also not interested in doing something unless they get something in return.
In some way, none of us will do anything unless we get something out of it, but true joy in life comes from giving without a guarantee of receiving anything in return; like unconditional love.
If you find yourself being conditional in the gifts you give people, i.e. I gave you x – you owe me y, then your gift was not given unconditionally.
From taker to dictator
I think self-centered people often wind up taking the dictator role in relationships, especially if they’re paired with a giver. This is where `who gets what and how much` is always determined by the taker, the other partner gets whatever the taker decides they’ll get. And that’s that. This inevitably leads to unhappiness for the taker’s partner, and a failing relationship.
You can’t take and win
This fascinating study ‘Reciprocity is Not Give and Take’ illustrates a powerful reason why takers kill relationships. With a series of experiments, a team at the University of Chicago found that when it comes to social relationships, including intimate relationships, when one side gives, the other side can give equally and both parties feel satisfied.
But when one side takes, and then in return the other side takes the same or receives something of equal value, then the dictator (sorry I mean the taker) is the only happy one left. The other party who was initially taken from is still not happy. It’s just human nature.
So to sum this up, the only relationship that can work and flourish is two givers. But watch out, there are still ways being a giver can be bad for you.
Be a giver, not a record-keeping matcher
Make sure you’re a giver, and not a matcher – someone who remembers every little thing they gave and expects the equal amount in return, or they’re just not happy. This Psychology Today article explains the matcher nicely.
Very often such matchers don’t even express all the things they feel the other party owes them and they become martyrs – always giving, giving, giving and feeling sad and frustrated because the world just isn’t giving back. See my earlier post on martyrs here. Don’t become one!
Givers can be taken advantage of
In any relationship the giver is the happiest and also potentially the unhappiest.
Just make sure you’re with another giver, not a taker or a matcher. And the best way to be is always strive to give unconditionally, expecting nothing in return. Except perhaps that warm feeling of giving to someone you love.
Give from the heart because you want to. I think you’ll agree that’s true love and the foundation of something beautiful.
How to know you’re receiving unconditional love
At the same time, respect yourself, don’t be taken disadvantage of and make sure you’re receiving unconditional love too. Not in a tit-for-tat way, but be aware of it.
When you’re conscious of this you’ll know if your partner is playing the role of a taker or dictator, and you can communicate it to them if they are, because they’re probably unaware of it.
When your partner gives love and is happy, regardless, you know it’s no strings attached giving. Or when you mess up, make poor choices, get in your partner’s way, take a wrong turn or sabotage your own happiness and you’re partner’s not disappointed or irritated, but stays right with you, without judging or punishing, that’s another sign you’re not with a taker.