Giving To Get; A Self-Destructive Way to Validate


One of my favorite terms to use in my work is “giving to get.”

It’s when we¬†give with strings attached to someone or something else.

It’s not always an item, money or something tangible; we often give our time, do favors (people please), allow behavior we don’t like and other forms of anything, which places us in position to receive our validation this way.

Personally, I’ve come to a ton of awareness over the years, in how I have operated in this way, but lately, my epiphanies have been around, how some people I attracted to my life would give to get with me.

This pattern usually starts in our family of origin.

We find by acting or giving in a certain way, we get what we THINK we want, which is some form of love or validation. In essence, someone says, “we’re okay” and then we feel accepted into the tribe. This often leads to some form of over-achievement, or having no boundaries or self-acceptance of our own feelings.

What’s the difference between giving to get, and just plain giving without expectation?

We feel someone owes us or we need to be recognized in some way (some celebs give money for publicity), this is not altruistic nor is it actually meaningful; it’s a form of trying to get validation.

When we give, as let’s say a friend who helps without being asked, by sharing their¬†oxygen mask,¬†the expectation is on the act of helping, not on the future accolades or gratitude that must be given in return.

When we give of ourselves over and over to someone hoping for a reward for putting up with their nasty behavior, we are giving to get. We blame the other person for holding our happiness in their hands. No one’s happiness belongs in the possession of another. Yet, I’ve heard from individuals in my professional and personal life all about how “someone has done something to me,” which creates a victimized mentality.

Where can anyone find power in themselves when they are giving it away to get validation that never lasts anyway?

I think of people I’ve thanked a bazillion times for their help, including my parents, but it’s never enough. They want to abuse the right, they feel they earned by giving in either how they believe I should treat them, or what I should give to them.

And people who give in this way, sabotage not only the relationship, but validate their belief of their own worth. It’s a painful cycle.

Whether it’s money or something mimicking love (love is free without attachment), we give so much of ourselves or our bank account, we create a deficit that must be filled…and yet we create situations, which make it impossible to be re-filled, on purpose.

It happens all the time, if we don’t pay attention to the signs; we allow people into our lives, based off the familiarity of our initial relationships.

Some of us think (I was one for a very long time) that if someone¬†believes we shit gold bricks, then they must recognize something in us, which we don’t see in ourselves.

And if it’s extreme, as though we’re to be convinced that the feelings we’re receiving¬†are genuine, they’re not. It’s not to say someone can’t like us and put us on a pedestal, it’s to say they’re giving to get. Whether it’s in complements, words of adoration, listening to us vent, money, gifts, or crossing over their personal boundaries….it’s all to receive some validation.

For the receiver, we may think¬†it’s assuring us we’re okay…even when we¬†feel somewhat funky with all that attention. I had¬†this cycle for years, until I really started to lay down some boundaries, which meant I attracted¬†very few who were giving to get with me.

And on the other hand, I gave to get¬†in my romantic relationships….all the time.

I was the perfect housewife, mother, lover, friend, etc…giving, giving, giving and it was never enough…and I never felt good when I’d be proving my wonderfulness….I’d become resentful, angry and tired. I’d assume and personalize everyone else, all the time.

It’s not just an imbalance, it’s a call to see where we’re begging for validation, for love…to receive the outcome we want.

Our opportunity lies in giving love and validation to ourselves; this is where many cannot shift their focus from the other person to themselves.

Awareness of our patterns, asking why we allow ourselves to act in an extreme way, will usually give an opening to old wounds, beliefs and the patterns we’ve created to stay in this self-destructive place. We believe we deserve to destruct, that our value is minimal, when we give all of ourselves away to receive anything in return.







It’s just a nightmare in your head…

The scariest place most of us live ….is in our head.

All sorts of B-movies, horror flicks and dastardly deeds keep playing themselves out with regularity. 

So, they must be true, right? After all we can spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing something or someone we perceive to be a problem or wrong. And if we invest that much energy in telling ourselves that a scenario we created in our mind from circumstantial evidence is true than it must be real!

Unfortunately, what is usually the “case” is we create all of this nightmarish drama about ideas in our OWN mind. Not reality. And if we really understood why, we could then stop creating these fantastical episodes (or at least create less of them).

Many of the nightmares are based on a very core (and untrue) belief we have on the level of what we believe we deserve, which makes us insecure and apt to sabotage something really great in our life.

The belief has to do with how worthy we feel of success, happiness, love, etc…and has more than likely been there since childhood. We have reinforced the belief over the years, because we tend to set up situations (first in our head) that reinforce the belief to be true. We have patterns that keep the belief intact and keep us from realizing what we truly want at a deeper level.

We create our reality.

So…why would we want a nightmare to be our reality? Intellectually, we don’t….emotionally we seem to repeat it over and over.

The triggering thoughts could even happen in a time of peace. As though it is the calm before the storm; and if that is how you see it, you will create just THAT scenario.

I had a client last week who came to see me. I hadn’t seen her in a few months and immediately noticed her energy was calmer and told her so…she said “yes” and that is what scared her.

She had a very stressful job, with a stressful boss when I met her a couple of years ago. The boss was removed last Summer (which should have been a huge relief) and she took on his workload. She never felt any sense of stress leaving her as she swore would happen when her boss left (so all the time we spend thinking “if” this would happen or that would happen, we’d feel better is really a crock) and was still overwhelmed until two weeks ago when she had a new boss come in and take a lot off her plate. She instantly liked him and they got along, which lead to her feeling that now that all was calm, they wouldn’t need her anymore.

She had started to imagine reasons they would let her go, instead of seeing it from a different perspective. She could have chosen to see it from it having been a dysfunctional environment becoming much more functional. She was too afraid to believe that something in her life could go well without a high degree of suffering, even though that is what she truly wants!

Most of us have some insecurities about ourselves and what we deserve. The key is to see the thoughts, which in turn lead to the downward spiral of creating nightmares in our head. It takes a bit of self-awareness to realize the thoughts you are having during the day. I notice them as a sort of “comfortable/uncomfortable” feeling of familiarity.

Sort of like an old pair of shoes, you know them and you may be attached to them, but they are no longer all that comfortable or good for you.

When you catch that feeling, look at the thought and do what you can to not allow the thought to manifest into a B-movie in your mind to later be played out with others.

Projection is what happens.

Haven’t you been in a situation in which you are having a perfectly normal conversation with someone and their reaction to something you have said is….WAY OUT THERE? Or have you been the person to completely overreact (the one who is way out there?)and imagine the person in front of you as the great evil doer in your nightmare?

Yeah… nobody in that scenario is living in the current moment. And it is made worse by the “dramatic scene” we have playing in our head, in which we are soooo sure we know what is really going on and in reality, we couldn’t have been more wrong.

Getting clear on where you are and what you are doing is key. When you stop focusing on someone or something and analyzing it, you free up the space to put that energy toward having self-awareness, which works much better at getting you to your desired outcome.

When those nightmares start up….ask where they come from and when you see that they are about as real as the boogeyman you have an opportunity to take different action NOW (as in you have a clean slate–this moment is new, treat it that way) and not give energy to fiction in your mind. It gets easier the more often you do it and you will find yourself being less reactive and that things in your life just sort of work themselves out…..its true!

How do you change your life?

That’s a BIG question we all seem to ask at one point or another in our lifetime. Wanting change and creating change can be miles apart. How do we bridge the chasm?

First, we should be clear on what a few of our goals are that we yearn to accomplish for ourselves. Creating true change requires us to understand WHY we want to achieve specific goals in the first place. What is the motivation behind the goal?

I was talking to a man this past week-end at a party. He asked what I did for a living. He then proceeded to tell me how he had a life coach a few years back and it helped him to attain a few goals. He continued to share by telling me his current goals: losing weight, exercising, getting into a relationship and sticking with a vegan regime.

Those are great goals! I asked him what his motivation was to achieve his new goals. ¬†He stated his motivation was his exasperation of being alone, which elicited his need to be healthier to “deserve”a partner. He was also concerned about his weight for health reasons and wanted to lead by example by showing his daughter he would adopt this new healthy lifestyle.

A lifestyle change is a big one for most people. “DESERVING” is our biggest impediment. We don’t just wake up one day and *poof* we are¬†ensconced¬†in our current lifestyle! Oh no, we had the help of our old beliefs and patterns in¬†determining¬†what we “deserve”.

If we really want to change our lives…it requires quite a bit of awareness or having reached a point where your current lifestyle is untenable. Many people get to the point of living in such misery or hit rock bottom that the only choice appears to be “change“. But, how to do it?

Well… after identifying goals and your motivation, next on the list would be locating the origin or seed of your goal.¬†Did the goal take root from your heart and soul; an authentic desire in support of “who you are” or is it a goal derived in your head; an expectation or some other “I must do this to be okay or I will never accept myself goal?” The sustainability of accomplishing and living your goal lies in the answer to that question.

When we are truly connected to living a fulfilling existence in whatever we endeavor, it DOES matter as to whether the goal is on the level of deep within us or on the surface or EVEN outside of us. And the goals outside of US will NEVER bring us fulfillment.

It also matters if we crave it, because we will be accepted, feel normal, stop beating our less than perfect selves up or feel we have “arrived?” If it is your deepest¬†motivation¬†to live a life YOU love, then your goals need to match “the love” not the infatuation.

If I realize that I want to be married; I need to understand where that idea originates within me. Do I want to be married just so I am not alone, people will accept me and not see me as defective or some other negative perception? Or is it because I really want to reach the fullest expression of who I am and do it in partnership with my best friend and life partner?

The next question is what are you doing right now to support and achieve those goals? Are my actions in alignment with “what I say I want?” Are my goals truly sustainable once I accomplish them? Do I need participation from¬†particular¬†people in reaching for the stars?

Action is a great pattern-breaker. Taking opposite action when you least feel interested in popping out of your inertia aka your comfort zone is an amazing pattern crusher!! I know when I feel low energy, doom and gloom or wondering if things will ever change (I find the following saying appropriate: how do I expect different results when I keep doing the same thing?), I MUST be inspired to do the most difficult thing ever…move “toward” my goal.

That is the meaning behind actions in alignment with your goal. If you say you want happiness and fulfillment, but constantly take actions which make you suffer, sad or anything else which doesn’t resemble the “words” used to describe your objective…then STOP, right there. Punishment or abuse does not lead to happiness. That is a misnomer. And to LIVE a goal from authenticity, means you MUST take positive action. Don’t talk yourself out of it or find reasons to stay miserable.

And really, if you are looking to other people to all of a sudden turn from a “resistor” into a supportive person, you are waiting for the 12th of never. Other people have their own agenda. And their goals may not be in alignment with you want or if they are in alignment, they may have a different idea as to what that picture looks like.

Sometimes we think we MUST chain ourselves to something really unpleasant to achieve a goal.

It is really a statement of missing the truth of what we truly want, but more so it shows what we believe we deserve. It is time to trek back to our “belief system”. The secrets about our motivation, self-sabotage and limitations are all there waiting to be uncovered.

Why would anyone believe that making themselves suffer is ever for the greater good of any goal? No one outside of you recognizes your charitable suffering. No one will ever thank you enough or have an appropriate amount of gratitude to assuage the pain for what we sacrifice. WHY? Because NO ONE wants that responsibility. Seriously, if I found someone sacrificing their happiness for me, I would ask them to stop now. There is nothing genuine or noble in the act of sacrificing for another…it again shows how little we believe we deserve happiness.

Our happiness and fulfillment come from “moving through” our journey to the goal. Even if you embrace a difficult goal, when it is from “your truth“, the inherent obstacles and challenges don’t cause you to sacrifice or suffer¬†emotionally.¬† It is a HUGE pattern to break, because of the belief behind it….but, when you do find how useless suffering for others or an ideal in your mind is, you have then recognized a way to your TRUE goals.

These questions are a starting place to changing your life.

It is also a great idea to surround yourself or at least have one person who supports you as you reach for the stars. It is an even greater idea to have someone in your life who remains true to your quest; holding you to taking new action in seizing onto a blissful moonbeam and travelling the  journey, we all can use the help!