Givers and Takers: Boundaries and Prioritization
Survival Mentality & the Power to Choose
I live by processes. I believe in checklists. Without organization, prioritization, and boundaries, individuals create notable hurdles that may limit them reaching their full potential or what they'd even deem success to be. That being said, a truly unfortunate number of people in this world operate through a survival mentality, which is a desire to get what is needed despite the consequences. This thought process leads to a lack of empathy and, often, unjustifiable self-proclaimed victimization.
Throughout my own research and self-discovery, I've adopted the analogy that compares a wild horse to an untrained mind. Individuals living in a survival mentality are the perfect example of this behavior. Think about it, if you wake up in a grumpy mood and decide, "this is how I feel today," you subject yourself to that box of thinking all day and there's no telling how many situations may occur through the lens of this mindset you've accepted to be a reality.
Contrastingly, you could wake up with less than desirable energy and simply acknowledge it. To counteract it, you could choose to engage in an activity that has the power to reset your mood— stretching, running, or sitting in a quiet sunlit room with some coffee or tea do it for me. But, (yeah, I started a sentence with a "forbidden" conjunction) people have to wake the hell up to become aware of their own emotions, their actions, and the power of choice we all inevitably possess.
Survival Mentality: Givers vs. Takers
Throughout every day, there is an exchange of energy between you and:
Your significant other
Your business (I'll explain)
The one person you have control over in all of this is you and that's only if you are aware of your own tendencies and habits. As for your significant other and friends, you reserve the right to select the company you keep. Contrastingly, we don't always have that option when it comes to our professional circle.
Now that we've established the lay of the land and the prominence of survival mentality, it may instantly become clear to you which relationships in your life are balanced or imbalanced. Inevitably, we begin to establish who we view as givers or takers. Takers are often the people who suffer from survival mentality the most unless they are opportunists, but we'll leave those folks out of this conversation. The thing about takers is that some aren't even aware of how their behavior leads to an imbalance in their relationships.
On the other hand, givers offer what they have. These people almost subconsciously create solutions or insert themselves into a situation with the desire to help and create improvements. At times, givers extend themselves beyond what they have to offer. When this occurs, there's an imbalance in the relationship with self and this causes the giver to indirectly also become a taker… they take from themselves.
Healthy Boundaries and Prioritization
If you ever ask me what my goal is, I'll immediately say, "to pursue greatness." I can elaborate, of course. However, in short, that's the goal. Therefore, to avoid taking from self or entering a realm where you feel drained because there is a surplus of taking occuring in your life, healthy boundaries and prioritization must be present.
Let's be clear, saying no is okay. Taking a break or a day off from whatever from whoever is okay. Being honest about your needs is also okay. When you show up as yourself communicating your needs and establishing boundaries, the people in your life gain an opportunity to choose to respect you or remove themselves— that too, is okay. You've got to be open-minded about how your blessings come… just sayin.
Once you've created healthy boundaries, creating a process of relative importance must come next. Prioritization helps in honoring your healthy boundaries with other people and yourself. Let me pose an alternative way of thinking about that last sentence: your time is also you. If you can afford to and are willing to plan a wedding for your best friend, go for it. If you can cancel your plans for the day and invest in a conversation where a friend needs to unload all of their emotional weight on you, go for it.
But if you can't, go for that too. Similarly, if you succumb to personal indulgences; poorly manage your time; allow others to absorb more than you have to offer; ignore all the red flags waving in your face more often than you engage in due diligence, you'll find that your internal bank account will be in the negative.
Be kind, but advocate for yourself. Pursue greatness.
While categorizing comes all too easy for us, the reality is that matters are rarely black and white. In fact, the concept of dualism is an ancient philosophy that describes how contrary forces are interconnected. For those of you watching the Wu Tang Saga, in the ninth episode Ghost Face keeps watching the kung fu movies about the Shaolin and Wu Tang clans fighting against each other. However, toward the end, the characters realized that by taking on traits of both fighting styles, they became a dynamic system.
In our relationships with others and self, the act of giving and taking also becomes a dynamic system. Through the lens of our prioritization process and healthy boundaries, we determine when we can give and when we need to take. We also become aware of the instances where our need to take might be an imposition to our loved ones or professional network. In these situations, we can even ask for permission to take or we can apologize for our shortcomings. Ultimately, this creates more effective communication, balance, and harmony because we can accommodate ourselves and others.