Hello, my friends! Another week here basking in this gorgeous fall weather. I love it.
I want to dive right in today with a concept that I’ve noticed playing out with my clients, my friends, family, and especially myself but once you’re introduced to the concept you’ll start seeing it pop up in your life too.
I listen to a lot of Ted talks. I think they’re fascinating and I always take something away from each one. This concept came from a ted talk about the work environment and what kind of employees best serve and help their company. It was all geared towards businesses and the corporate world but I took it to ourselves in the daily lives and our interactions with our friends and family as well.
In this Ted talk he introduces three types of people or roles we fall into I should more accurately say: The giver, the taker, and the matcher. We’re pretty good at establishing an image of the giver and the taker, right?
The giver is just that. They give and give and serve selflessly. The Savior was a giver. Unconditional love abounds in this individual and charity of the most concentrated and pure kind is within this person. This is the person that always has a smile on their face. They’re optimistic, they’re generous in their kind opinions of others. They just embody the term, giver.
Do you know anyone like this? I picture Mother Teresa. I have several friends and family members that I would place in this category that are just genuine and giving.
Okay, then on the opposite spectrum there’s the taker. The taker takes. The taker is all about, “What’s in it for me?”, If they can spin something to where they get something out of it they’ll come, they’ll participate, they’ll play along because there’s something in it for them.
These types of personalities will talk about you to others if it means that they move ahead on the social ladder. These people prey on your generosity without much, if any appreciation and don’t hesitate to come back to see if you’re offering more. It takes a lot of your mental energy to be around these people.
I’m sure you already have a mental picture of some takers in your life. No doubt you’ve recalled memories where you encountered such people. Toddlers fall into this category. They take and take and you’re just drained. We all know several problems associated with takers so I’m not going to spend too much time talking about them. But I’m going to focus a lot of my message today talking about givers and the last category:
The matcher. The matcher is harder to pinpoint. The matcher is both a giver and a taker. Most people are matchers. We’d like to think of ourselves as givers. Giving sounds Nobel and grandiose. Everyone wants to be by a giver and everyone wants a giver in their lives. The want to be around someone that’s going to GIVE them the benefit of the doubt on days you’re just not where you’d like to be. Or to have someone you know you could call on for help and within moments they’d be there. But we’re human.
All of us.
And for the time being…while we’re working towards becoming the giver let’s get really clear on meeting ourselves and others where we’re at right now.
Matchers. Matchers ARE givers to a degree. They are kind, generous, charitable. They’ll 100% sign up to bring a plate of goodies to the fireside. They’ll do their ministering and reach out to others each month. They host get togethers and plan outings. They reach out first and call friends and family.
They’re quick to think of others and want to be generous. All is great and glorious…until it isn’t reciprocated and then it’s anything but glorious. It turns to begrudgment and resentment (and yes, I’m pretty sure I just made that word up – begrudgment. It’s fitting here)
Still can’t picture yourself here? Let me offer a few examples:
Think about when you’re having a great day. You feel great and light. Because you’re feeling this way you’re sharing, complimenting, smiling, giving. Everything is just good, you know? That is until a family member comes home cranky. They start nit picking at little things and complaining. At first, you’re defensive, like, “whoa…what’s going on?” And it makes it worse when they’re defensive back, like, “What do you mean what’s going on?!” And then they rattle off more complaints. Now, you’re not so giving. You’re upset because they’re upset and before you realize it, you’ve become a matcher. They’re cranky and now I’m cranky and the whole world is cranky. This is actually called mirroring emotions which I’ll talk more in depth on in another episode but I’m certain we can all relate to this one.
Here’s another example that I’ve heard countless times over the years. In our church and communities we serve a lot. We love to serve. It feels good serving. We’re taught to serve. The Savior spent His entire mortal ministry serving. So we serve. We do things we don’t always want to do – like heading over to the church at 8:00am on a Saturday morning to clean bathrooms or run home and make a meal for a family in need while your family gets to munch on cereal. It’s all good. You’re happy to do it. But then, you’re the family in need and where’s your meals? You’re the only one showing up on Saturday morning clean up and why? No one else bothers to come. Why should I keep giving if no one else is doing the same? So again, we become matchers.
How about this one: You’re outgoing. You love to be around your friends and family. You organize plans to do things, time to hang out, to see one another. You’re the first one to pick up the phone and call to chat. Until you realize that they’re not reciprocating. They don’t ever seem to call you. It’s like, if you never called them, would they ever call you? Would you just never talk anymore? This was actually a hard one for me.
After my youngest son was born I found myself really struggling. I was and still am very independent and so I didn’t feel like I really needed a lot or wanted a lot from others I should say but after he was born I started feeling like I needed help. I felt like I needed support. I needed to know someone would be there for me aside from my sweet husband…and yes, if you listened to my last episode all about needing vs wanting I was in a needy space and it wasn’t a good place. For years I always was the outgoing one so I’d organize things, plan fun get togethers, plan fun kid activities. I was the one to pick up the phone and chat to see how others were doing. But then seven almost 8 years ago I experienced this temporary shift. I still wanted to do those things. It was still my nature to want to pick up the phone and call, to reach out, to get together. But during that time I became a matcher and I didn’t even realize what I was doing.
I’d start to pick up the phone to call my go to people but then I’d stop myself and think, “why aren’t they calling me? Don’t they want to talk to me? Shouldn’t they care about me? Aren’t they curious how I’m doing? How my baby is doing? How I’m surviving with now four kids and my heavy load?”
I had this attitude of “They aren’t calling me so I’m not going to call them” – so I set the phone down and walked away.
I became a matcher. If they’re not calling me, I’m not calling them.
If they don’t want to see me, then I guess, I’m not going to see them either.
Our minds do this not conscientiously but out of protection for us. It doesn’t want us to suffer or feel pain so we put up walls as defensive coping mechanisms. And it really wasn’t born of a selfish or immature nature like it sounds. I didn’t really think, “They’re not calling me so I’m not going to call them” although those were my actions. What I’ve come to discover is it’s more accurate to say, that I grew tired of loving.
Mother teresa says,
Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
I think we do this. We get tired of expending so much energy, time, thoughts, and love with this idea that it needs to be reciprocated for it to qualify or keep us going. Does that make sense to you? I’ll elaborate more on this in a sec.
I heard a sister once share how hurt she was that for years and years she was always the first one to volunteer to take over a meal to a family in need and never once did it for praise or any accolades but then when she was struggling and could have used a little help no one jumped up to help her. She inadvertently gave her mind a directive, something to focus on, something to look for and that’s exactly what her mind offered her. It went scouring through the mental data files and found the countless times she served others without even a thank you or all the times she went above and beyond and what she was willing to do for others but now that she needed a little help, where was everyone?
She could easily think she was a giver – and she was – but now, in looking back and wondering where’s my meal? Where’s the love for me? She was pivoting into the matcher role. She didn’t initially serve for a reward but when the time comes that you find yourself in that role where now you could use help and you’re not getting it so you’re disappointed and we don’t quite know how to process our disappointment and instead you become a matcher.
In this last general conference sister Franco shared this sweet experience about her primary teacher who always brought chocolate cake. Do you remember this one? Chocolate was sounding really good at that moment and better and better as she continued to talk about it. How different would her experience be if that sister was a matcher? If once she heard this young lady complain that she didn’t like chocolate cake and couldn’t she ever bring anything new? That she stopped bringing it altogether? If she thought, “They don’t appreciate it anyway, why am I sacrificing my time, my little means, and my energy to bring them cake that they can’t even smile about and pretend to be grateful about? That’s it, I’m just not doing it anymore.” – She would have become the matcher – matching in love, matching in effort, matching in thoughts but thankfully she didn’t. Thankfully she persisted and kept sacrificing her time, money, and energy not because of what others would do or say but because that was her unique light. That was what brought her joy to do.
One of my favorite quotes, (I have a lot of them) is from Neal A. Maxwell, he said,
“No love is ever wasted. It’s value does not lie in reciprocity.”
She was able to give and serve and sacrifice because it felt good to her and it didn’t matter if the kids liked it or not, she still got to bask in the efforts of her labors and feel kind and generous even when it wasn’t valued.
The biggest problem with being a matcher is that you’re stifling your inner light. You’re showing up superficial and different because the thought of being you, doing what you do, giving what you give could be potentially dangerous and painful if they don’t accept it, value it, match it.
You show up differently and at the caliber of the company you’re trying to match. My kids sometimes forget that their siblings are all different in ages and in stages. Especially when it comes to chores. They sometimes complain that so in so isn’t doing their work so why do they have to do theirs? Then I always kindly remind them that so in so is a great deal younger than them and they get a little more leniency while they’re learning.
The phrase, “It’s not fair” falls into this category. Fair would mean that both sides reciprocate. I do something for you because I’m nice and so you can feel good and now you’re supposed to do something for me so I can feel good. But…life isn’t fair. It isn’t about matching. In fact, it’s wildly unfair if you really think about all the different peoples on the earth and their living conditions. It’s not supposed to be fair. Also when we start matching it’s because we’ve given some of our emotional responsibility over to another person.
It’s a really unhealthy cycle of thinking, “I’m doing this for you so you can feel good, now you do something for me so I can feel good.” We don’t make each other feel good. We can’t. We serve and love because that’s who we are and by so doing we feel good and loving because of the thoughts that motivated us to serve in the first place.
We can love and reach out and serve because of our nature. Who we are and because we did that, thought that, we get to feel loving, generous, and kind. It doesn’t matter if they never respond or reciprocate. This goes back to last week. We can WANT them to reciprocate, to thank us, to notice. But when we NEED them to reciprocate so we can feel good, there’s a problem because we’re relying on them to do something and they may never do it.
Another problem is that by matching you’re not pushing yourself to grow and you’re not exemplifying that growth to others. Think of a fifth grader hanging out in a second grade classroom all day. They might be frustrated by all the work they have to do while the second graders do minimal work and get to do more art projects. After a time the fifth grader might be tempted to slack off and not push themselves to grow because, why would they? Everyone else is doing menial work.
Our focus is off when we’re in matching mode. Our focus is outward on others and not inward on the one thing you can control and that has a direct effect on what you create in your life and on how you feel.
Byron Katie calls this staying in your own business. There’s three businesses she teaches, you business, God’s business, and other people business. Other people are circumstances and we have no control over what they do. In fact what they do is none of our business. God’s business is everything else – also, He’s plainly told us that we couldn’t possible understand everything that He sees/knows/or why He does what He does in the scripture from Isaiah,
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
As vast and lengthy as the sky, the Heavens are from the earth that’s how much of a difference there currently is in His perspective and reasons and our limited mortal, earthly perspective. So, stay out of His business.
The only business left is your business. Stay in your business. Stay in what you can control, what you choose to think about, and what you choose to do.
Here’s another way the matcher shows itself, when we think the thought, “Why aren’t they doing that for me? I’d do that for them.” We feel hurt, disappointed, resentful even.
I read a quote on Pinterest ages ago that said something to the extent of, “Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them.”
Notice, we would be willing – not as the giver would say, I am willing. We change what we think of them and what we ultimately end up doing for them because they’re not reciprocating. So it hurts to think they’re not willing to do what you’d do for them not because they’re not doing it but because of what you make your service, contribution mean in the first place.
When you walk through a store or see something online that reminds you of someone that you love, you might buy it all the while thinking loving thoughts about them. So you give it to them in the spirit of giving, generosity, and love. You’re not just giving a gift. You’re giving it to them with your thoughts and feelings that you have for them as well. So when they don’t reciprocate it’s not that they’re not buying something for you, or that they didn’t appreciate what you gave in the first place. It’s painful because you believe they don’t feel the same for you. If they did they’d certainly react or act the way you think they should.
They really have nothing to do with how you’re feeling. It’s your thoughts about them that gets you into trouble. It’s your thoughts that they don’t care that creates the pain. Not the missed phone call.
It’s your thoughts that your family should WANT to call, to think of you because you’re thinking of them – That’s what creates the tension inside yourself when they come home human and feeling all the feels. It’s your thoughts that things aren’t fair that creates the feeling of resentment and the actions of matching.
Other people have nothing to do with it.
This is really good news, right?
You don’t have to wait any longer to decide who you want to be and start becoming.
Anne Frank, I love that girl, said, ““How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
You can improve YOUR world right now if you wanted to. It all starts in your thoughts, in that moment of decision whether you’ll take the giver, taker, or matcher route.
Out of the three, which would you suspect feels the best?
The giver, right? Taking might feel momentarily pleasant. It’s like getting fast food. I’m taking a meal and it’s good but it’s fleeting. But I remember meals that I’ve worked hard on, that tasted so good and largely because of the effort I expended into making it, to creating it for the sole purpose of giving.
When I’m the giver, I feel generous, kind, charitable – which we know is the “pure love of God”. Love feels the best. Giving feels amazing.
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, Author of, A Little Princess ,which I love wrote:
“If nature has made you a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that—warm things, kind things, sweet things—help and comfort.”
For the taker, there is never enough. They’re never satisfied. They’re trying to fill a void that can’t be filled by taking from others because the void is inside where only they can fill it.
The matcher isn’t stable. They’re always dabbling other people’s business. They’re too busy looking at what others are doing or aren’t doing that they feel insecure not knowing what is in store for them. Whether their love will be reciprocated or not. Whether their family will come home happy or not. Whether they get invited to something or not. They’re focused outward as well. They’ve filled half their emotional bucket and now they’re waiting for others to follow suit and match them by filling the rest with their service, acts, and love. But to live not knowing whether those needs will be met or not is a scary place.
The giver on the other hand is at peace. The giver notices all that’s around them and uses their agency to choose to focus on what feels best. Love feels best. They choose to focus their thoughts on optimism – not in delusion that everything is awesome – cue Steve from the Lego movie – they’re real. They know that life has ups and downs. They feel happy and sad and all the in between. But they choose to always seek out love. They offer love to others and most importantly to themselves. They don’t beat themselves up over perceived failures but loving encourage themselves and make a plan to try again tomorrow.
They feel loving because they know that their gifts and offering of love isn’t contingent upon the receivers reactions. They get to feel kind, loving, and generous even if the person doesn’t accept it. The actions of others don’t make us feel anything. Our thoughts create our feelings. Own where you’re at.
Own that you’re human and as such we’re going to show up as all three throughout our lives and that others are too. But which one are you going to work towards? Which one will help you show up as your best self? Which one feels the best for you?
You can improve the world. Start with YOUR world. Be an example of a giver. Do more for others not because you expect a payoff in return but because the payoff is here now. When you serve, when you give, when you love – you get to feel all those positive feelings now.
Don’t tire of loving. Love is in itself energizing if you’re truly thinking loving thoughts. Love without even a hint of expectation and notice when you do have some disappointment creep in. Question if you’re NEEDING them to reciprocate so you can feel better so you can continue to love and serve or rather if you can just WANT them to reciprocate but no matter what you’re okay. You’ve got your back.
It’s okay to be a giver and feel disappointment. There isn’t anything wrong with loving and feeling disappointment at the same time. It’s possible to love and feel disappointed too. But no matter what their actions are, it’s not going to slow you down or tire of loving. Y
Watch yourself this week, observe your thoughts – not to shame them and think, I shouldn’t think that way but to notice where you’re at and which of the three you’re currently operating from. Then deliberately decide which of the three you really WANT to operate from and go from there.
As always, I would love to help you out with this concept or anything else that is causing you stress and pain. Currently I’m offering a free mini session. Head over to my website: www.thecatalystcoaching.com and click on the work with me tab and find a time that works for you. That’s it. Easy. You will be amazed at all that can be accomplished in one session. Try it out. See for yourself. Okay, have a great week! I’ll talk to you next time!
Ted Talk: Adam Grant – Are you a giver or a taker?