Are you valuing what you give (and giving what you value)?
This is the third and final part of this series on debt. This article asks questions about what you value to determine whether what you are giving aligns with your deepest value systems.
Let’s return to the spiritual meaning of debt as the desire to be closer to your perfect, abundant, authentic Self, and think about the best way to get there. So often people feel they are giving and giving, and debt can act as a reward, or a way of taking something in return for all the giving they’ve done. While it may be true that you have been a giver all your life, let’s start with some important questions about that.
1) How have you felt about what you’ve been giving?
2) Have you been giving resignedly, with the mindset that it is just who you are, or ‘the way things are,’ and/or no one else will do whatever it is you do, so you just keep on doing it?
3) Have you been giving out of obligation or duty, feeling that you owe this to life in some way?
4) Have you been giving your time and energy to things you dislike, to simply survive or pay the bills, all the while feeling more and more disconnected from where you feel you really want to be?
5) Has giving made you feel that you are owed by life for all the giving you’ve been doing, so that you’re willing to accept debt as a way of rewarding yourself and reaching for things that might otherwise be unavailable at the present?
6) When you think about giving value, what does it mean to you?
7) Where does your current value system stem from?
8) Do you feel that you give people and situations something of yourself of value that they can take with them and enjoy?
9) Do you love knowing that someone has received huge value from the work you’ve done, and do you feel that on a regular basis?
There is a fairly large gap between giving, and giving value, yet it’s a subtle difference and can be the key to understanding how to move out of the debt mindset. It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘dollars for hours’ mindset and valuation of our skills and experience as a monetary figure, but there’s so much more to true value. There are things we all come here with that are unique to us, and that no other being in all of creation can do in quite the same way, and it’s these things that provide the most value for other people. It so often happens that what we believe we value is based on someone else’s interpretation.
Let me try to clarify further by using an example from my experience. I worked in customer service for many years, and in my ‘home life’ gave emotional and physical support to my family. I felt like I was giving non-stop, but what I was giving did not feel valuable to me, as I believed I had no choice but to give. No one else would give this support to my family (so I thought) and I worked the jobs I believed I was suited to (from my Debt Story). I was barely making ends meet, but my credit rating was okay, and I was able to take out student loans for University, which made me feel like I was finally getting somewhere. I kept on giving, working full-time while full-time at school, still offering support to my family, all the while feeling more and more like there had to be something else; there must be another way! I hadn’t really thought about why I gave so much, I just ‘knew’ that it was my duty.
Between my first and second master’s degree, I fell apart, completely. I let go of years (maybe lifetimes) worth of old, old ‘stuff’ that I began to realize had been keeping me in this pattern of giving and not feeling valued in return. As I worked through all this, I started to notice that I wanted to give less of the everyday stuff that I didn’t really feel was valuable to people (‘thank you for buying this ____, Sir, see you again’), and instead give of myself, give to people things that would really help them. I started to connect with the things that I found valuable about my life and my own experience, and realized that those things could also be of value to others. A-ha.
This value component is key in moving forward from the debt mindset. It’s not just important to shift your focus from an external to an internal definition of value, but also to shift your focus from giving indiscriminately to providing real value with everything you give. It is possible to move ahead in the world by simply churning out the work that needs doing, but isn’t it also true that anyone can do that? Customer service jobs in particular have very high turn over rates, because so often the employees are undervalued and considered easily replaceable. If a company truly values the work their employees do, they’ll offer rewards that are not connected to salary and day-to-day living that they’re contractually bound to provide.
How does this tie in with debt? It goes hand-in-hand with the idea that when you give half-heartedly, feeling resentful or overburdened by giving, you’ll receive in the same way (and feel the need to borrow to obtain that equivalence… and so on…). If you continue to give something that your value system tells you has no value, you’ll receive in return those things that reflect what you’ve offered. You’re not being punished; it’s simply that you’re not valuing what you’re giving, so others (including the Universe) will reflect back to you that same attitude. If you can begin to value what you give (and give what you value), you’ll feel a shift towards joyfulness and abundance as you realize someone else has found what you offer incredibly worthwhile. You can hear the delight in their voice, or see the delight on their face as they connect with what you’re offering, and it fires you up in return. You begin to give so fiercely and so passionately that you don’t even care if you get anything in return, just because it feels so good to give. The paradox is, you begin to see more returns than you have before, because you’re not giving in order to get, but in order to provide value. You’re giving something you hold so dear, so close to your heart, that others connect with that energy and feel its worth in their own hearts.
Somewhere along the way, the need for debt falls away because giving of yourself -- the things you most value -- brings you closer to that perfect, abundant, authentic Self we talked about earlier. You’ll no longer be borrowing to feel closer to it, because you’re living it each and every day, asking that self every morning, ‘what can I give that would be of value?’, and knowing that the answer is exactly right for you.
Also known as 'The Catharsis Coach,' Jenny loves exploring life's twists and turns through the lens of transformation. Her own journey through catharsis, a deep, deep letting go of ingrained patterns and beliefs, resulted in a feeling of connectedness, with the world around her and with that wise and wonderful voice within. Jenny has learned to engage with her life and experiences in a way that allows her to use the knowledge gained through them to serve others. When she's not writing, she's coming up with new ways to help people move through change with grace and ease.