Are You A Giver Or A Taker?  #MondayMusings

Are You A Giver Or A Taker? #MondayMusings

Going through life, I was convinced that  there are broadly two categories of people in this world – givers and takers.

Reading Eric Butterworth‘s writing I found this to substantiate my views:

The takers are the people who believe their lives will always be the total of what they can get from the world. They are always thinking get, get, get. They plan and scheme ways to get what they want in money, in love, in happiness, and in all kinds of good… but whatever may be their spiritual ideals or lack of any, no matter what they take, they can never know peace or security or fulfillment.

The givers, on the other hand, are convinced life is a giving process. Thus their subtle motivation in all their ways is to give themselves away, in love, in service, and in all the many helpful ways they can invest themselves. They are always secure, for they intuitively know that their good flows from within.

I classified myself as a giver, but then got a bit confused along the way when I realized that I was often giving too much of myself, and at great cost to my well-being. Slowly, I started to learn to assert myself and say ‘no’. But I wondered if that automatically moved me to the other camp? I then realized that even givers have to learn to set limits.

Adam Grant’s ‘Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success‘ (affiliate link) makes  interesting reading. Citing research from Yale psychologist, Margaret Clark, he says that outside of the workplace, most of us, in our relationships with family and friends are givers – we don’t keep scores. However, in the work place, the behaviour that dominates is that of ‘matchers’.

We become matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting. Matchers operate on the principle of fairness: when they help others, they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. If you’re a matcher, you believe in tit for tat, and your relationships are governed by even exchanges of favors.

Grant notes that we all move between being givers, takers and  matchers depending on the situation:

Giving, taking, and matching are three fundamental styles of social interaction, but the lines between them aren’t hard and fast. You might find that you shift from one reciprocity style to another as you travel across different work roles and relationships. It wouldn’t be surprising if you act like a taker when negotiating your salary, a giver when mentoring someone with less experience than you, and a matcher when sharing expertise with a colleague. But evidence shows that at work, the vast majority of people develop a primary reciprocity style, which captures how they approach most of the people most of the time. And this primary style can play as much of a role in our success as hard work, talent, and luck.


Having read the book and pondered on this question, I no longer feel the need to slot people into one or the other category. But it helps in our own growth to understand how we and others move into different behaviors and roles.

Watch Adam Grant talking about givers and takers.


Still, I was happy to read that in the long run, the winners, for want of a better word, are ‘givers’ because giving has such a wonderful effect.

Givers, takers, and matchers all can— and do— achieve success. But there’s something distinctive that happens when givers succeed: it spreads and cascades. When takers win, there’s usually someone else who loses. Research shows that people tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch. In contrast, when [givers] win, people are rooting for them and supporting them, rather than gunning for them. Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them. You’ll see that the difference lies in how giver success creates value, instead of just claiming it.

Maya Angelou put it so beautifully when she said: I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

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Image of a women’s hands via Shutterstock

Great Conversations #MondayMusings

Great Conversations #MondayMusings

It was only a few years ago that I embraced the truth that I am an introvert. And I’m happy with that.

I do enjoy the company of people, especially those I can connect with on a deep level. Sadly, I’m finding it more and more difficult to do that.

I come away from most social gatherings, even small ones, wondering if I had wasted my time going. Conversations seem to be kept at a surface, we all seem to talk at each other and most of all there are always mobile phones to add noise and photographs to the gathering! I find myself drained after such social events. I’m grateful that I have José to come home to and really have a good conversation with.

What makes great conversations?

When is the last time that you had a great conversation, a conversation that wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture?
But … a great conversation, in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew? That you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost … a conversation that brought the two of you on to a different plane? … a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards …
I’ve had some of them recently … they are food and drink for the soul.
– John O’Donohue –

Doesn’t that sound so good? I’ve been musing how we can have more meaningful conversations and here are just a few things I can think of

  1. A sense of awareness to realize who you are speaking to and what you are saying.
  2. It’s important to make your words count, but it’s also important to count your words. Succinct speech can be more effective than long winded talk.
  3. Being genuine and talking because you want to and not because it seems something you have to do.
  4. Trying to find common interests with the person  you are talking to, so that both can participate actively.
  5. Asking leading questions that gets the other to talk about themselves or the subject.
  6. Listening with the intention to understand the other – even going beyond what they say, to understand what they feel. Empathy is highly under-rated.
  7. Checking with the other to see if you’ve understood her correctly.
  8. No attempts to impress or flatter.

great conversations

When was the last time you had a great conversation? Would you like to add something to my list?

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Would you like to take part in #MondayMusings? Here’s how it works:

  • Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.
  • Add your link to the linky which you will find here and on the post of a co-host.
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Today I’m happy to be co-hosting with Parul Thakur of Happiness and Food. Please read, comment on and share her post too. 




Love Enough To Be Honest #MondayMusings

Love Enough To Be Honest #MondayMusings

A functional relationship must have intimacy, love, respect trust and truth. When I talk of relationships I mean all relationships and intimacy being of the physical or emotional kind.

I’ve had a lot of experience of broken relationships and friendships – lost because of a lack of honesty – on one or the other side and sometimes both. It’s hard for me to say what motivated other people to be dishonest, but I can certainly speak about my own dishonesty.

Looking back, I know that my dishonesty is a refusal to share my true feelings with the other. Love, according to me back then, was putting up with all manner of bad behaviour from the other and not sharing my feelings of disappointment or anger. In doing so, I never allowed myself to be ‘real‘ in these relationships. I never consciously allowed myself to be real in a negative way around anyone. And the few times, I was unable to control an outburst, I’d be consumed with guilt and most apologetic.

What I didn’t realize is that the very act of trying so hard to be ‘nice‘ and ‘good’ all the times is what killed the relationships.

I think that my fear of rejection kept me from being ‘me’ in these relationships.

Love Enough To Be Honest

I’m glad to report I’ve changed. I speak my mind in most of my relationships – at least the ones I value.

It’s a constant process of learning to be real, but I’m glad to have started.

If I’m in a bad mood I try to let the other person know that they must back off.  If I don’t like the way I’ve been spoken to or treated, I let the other know. If I find that the other person has made some wrong choices, I share my feelings about this. There have been times, that I’ve also dared to be myself and found that it put people off, but now that too is okay for me.

I’ve found that there can be no love, respect or trust without truth. Truth is the first thing necessary to create trust in our relationships. Respect is earned from trust, and love follows from respect. Intimacy is the reward we get when we dare to be honest.

Do you feel the same?

“ Love people enough to tell them the truth and respect them enough to trust that they can handle it.”
– Iyanla Vanzant


Love Enough To Be Honest

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#MondayMusings has now officially shifted over from Write Tribe to Everyday Gyaan

Would you like to take part in #MondayMusings? Here’s how it works:

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  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.
  • Add your link to the linky which you will find here and on the post of a co-host.
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I am happy to co-host today’s #MondayMusings with Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life. Please visit and comment on her post too.



Listening Is An Act Of Love  #MondayMusings

Listening Is An Act Of Love #MondayMusings

I remember a session on listening which went very wrong and right at the same time. The trainer made an error of judgement when he asked a participant to share something personal about himself. The rest of us were asked to listen and then make suitable empathetic responses. The participant began to share. But what he shared was deeply personal and full of emotion. The trainer turned to us, a group of ten odd people, and asked us to respond empathetically. People tried to respond, but their responses sounded so trite in light of the depth of his emotions. A friend and I had no response to make. Too moved by what he shared, we chose to remain silent.

At the end of the session, we gathered courage and went up to him to explain how we were silent only because any other response seemed trivial. He told us, that our silence was the only response he truly appreciated!

Listening is an act of love. It demands that we be completely present to the other person. Most often, that means a meaningful silence, a hug or an arm around the other’s shoulder. When we truly listen with our hearts, we make space for the other to be herself or himself.

I’m convinced that if every one had at least one person that listened to them without judgement and made space for them to be themselves, the world would be an infinitely better place.

Do you agree? 

listening is an act of love

When Someone Deeply Listens to You
When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you
your barefeet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.
– John Fox

Today I am rather belatedly writing for the 1000 Voices of Compassion (click on the link for more posts and read about it below). The theme for this month is ‘Listening’. You can also find #1000Speak on Facebook,Twitter, the blog or the hashtag #1000Speak on social media. I am proud to have written for #1000Speak on the topics of Compassion, Bullying and Acceptance.

I’m also linking in to Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings post.


Is Predicting Behaviour Bad? #MondayMusings

Is Predicting Behaviour Bad? #MondayMusings

Past experiences of people almost cutting me off and then suddenly connecting when they want something leave a poor taste in my mouth. By now, when someone connects out of the blue, I’m quite good at predicting why they are doing so.

Is Predicting Behaviour Bad?

A little confused about my predictions which are based on these people’s past behaviour, I wonder if my predictions make me judgemental. (Funny thing about the word judgemental is that it’s come to be a bad word. We often forget that it also means ‘the use of judgement’.) I also wonder if it’s okay not to help, when I know that I’m being used, only to be discarded. This, especially when their problems don’t come under the category of an emergency, a matter of livelihood or life and death.

Hmmm…tough one, no?

I ask myself, “What would happen if I don’t help persons like this?”

At worst, they’ll call me selfish. Do I care? No.

Then I come across this paragraph in Anthony D’Mello’s book ‘Awareness‘.

You can almost predict how this person is going to react. If I study a person, I can tell you just how he or she is going to react. With my therapy group, sometimes I write on a piece of paper that so-and-so is going to start the session and so-and-so will reply.

Do you think that’s bad? Well, don’t listen to people who say to you, “Forget yourself! Go out in love to others”.

Don’t listen to them! They’re all wrong. The worst thing you can do is forget yourself when you go out to others in the so called helping attitude.

For me that’s an affirmation that using my judgement to predict behaviour and not help such people is fine.

And here’s why I like Lucy better than Charlie Brown! 😉

lucy make others happy


It is time for #MondayMusings and all you have to do is:

  • Write a post sharing your thoughts on a subject of your choice. Make it as personal as possible.
  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and link to Write Tribe.
  • Add your link to the linky which you will find either here or on Write Tribe or on the post of a co-host.
  • Use our #MondayMusings badge to help other bloggers join in too.

Every Monday, another blogger will be co-hosting with me. If you’d like to be that blogger, let me know either in the comments or by using the contact form. I’ll let you know the date and provide you with the code.

Today’s linky can be found here below and my co-host is the inspiring  Chocolate Loving Gal, Ashwini. She’s one of the bravest and sweetest Indian bloggers I know. More about her on my blog soon. 🙂


Now You Want Me Now You Don’t

Now You Want Me Now You Don’t

Now You Want Me Now You Don’t! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it, and ten ways to manage it in your relationship
by Dr. Jeanette Raymond
published by Independent Book Publishers Association Members’ Titles

Book Description

In Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship, psychologist Dr. Jeannette Raymond, a relationship expert, exposes the secret that 9 out of 10 calls to the therapist’s office come from men who crave emotional connection with their partners. She offers hope via a 10-point program enabling meaningful connections.

The book tells the story of Rick and Christy’s stormy relationship, tracking their lives from childhood before they come together, then taking us into Rick’s private sessions with Dr. Raymond after Christy storms out of the office, refusing counseling.

As Rick recounts his frustrations, he learns the many subtle ways in which Christy keeps him at bay because she’s terrified of emotional intimacy. But for each way she blocks him, Dr. Raymond gives Rick a strategy that enables Christy to let her guard down. Elated when he succeeds and heartbroken when she pushes him away, Rick persists with Dr. Raymond’s plan, determined not to give up on his marriage. Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t! is a handbook of winning strategies for couples who crave yet fear emotional closeness.

The author

Dr Jeanette Raymond is a licensed psychologist with thirty years of experience working in the United Kingdom with children , adolescents and adults and in California with couples. Her doctoral dissertation explored the elements of attachment and dependency that influence the choices single women make about their romantic partners. She  now works to help people use angry energy as fuel to propel them toward their goals.

now you want me now you don't
My brief review: [rating=4]

This is an excellent book for couples struggling to find real intimacy in their marriage. Told from the doctor’s experiences with a male patient who is struggling to find intimacy in his marriage. When his wife refuses to continue couples’ therapy, Dr Raymond convinces him to continue on his own. His journey towards discovery his own insecurities and his little triumphs with his wife. I enjoyed the perspective which reinforced many of my own beliefs of how the dynamics in our family of origin affects the way we relate to our partners.


Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t!: Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship

Grateful to NetGalley for giving me a chance to review the book. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a top reviewer on NetGalley. Just saying! 😉