In kindergarten we learn to share. Well some of us do, others just steal all the glitter glue and purple popsicles sticks and leave others with a deep seeded trauma towards arts & crafts. Its something we are always trying to enforce in our children, share your toys, share your snacks, no-we don’t share boogers etc.
Somewhere along the way that sharing relationship slowly morphs into one of taking and giving. If anyone has ever had a friend take advantage of their friendship or kindness, you’ve heard, likely your mother, say ‘the world is filled with givers and takers and you happen to be a giver’. We all want to give because being the taker seems weak and greedy. Most people would rather extend their hand to pick someone up than be the one to put their hand up in help.
One of the things that sucks the most about divorce, you know aside from the untimely demise of your marriage, is becoming a taker. No matter how strong and tall you are, no matter how much you are used to giving, divorce puts you in a position to have to take.
Recently I had a bone crushing realization; I am not a superhero- I am human. This probably seems like a no brainer, especially if you’ve ever stubbed your toe and swore you’d never felt a worse pain in your life despite four C-sections. But it hit me like my toddler throwing a ball thinking he’s a professional baseball player, hard, fast and completely out of nowhere. The idea that I couldn’t do it all and I just couldn’t do it all alone. The 4-1 ratio between my kids and I put me at a very unique and outnumbered disadvantage.
The hardest thing about going through divorce has been learning to ask for help. Now, my close friends and family who are reading this and, ahem…liking, sharing and tweeting it, are likely scoffing at this. I am not known for my ability to ask for help. I have always been the giver and at a time when it seems I’ve lost so much, that’s not something I wanted to lose.
My best friend told to me, its not you taking-it’s us giving. That was a pivotal moment for me as it made me look beyond myself. This whole time I wanted to give, I wanted to do for others, I wanted to have that ability: I. Yes, it was I wanting to do for others but it was me establishing myself as an independent, someone who doesn’t need others, who doesn’t rely one anyone.
But sometimes in order to truly give to others you must take as well. It is a symbiotic relationship where the two variables exist solely because of the other’s existence. If there were no takers, givers would have no one to give to. They would be standing there with their hand outstretched and no one reaching for it. They would be left just as alone as the person taking.
Perhaps it is so difficult for us to take from others because we do not even give to ourselves. Giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt, giving ourselves credit, giving ourselves love and compassion when we need it most. If we gave to ourselves and made ourselves whole, then maybe it wouldn’t be as threating to accept from others. Maybe then accepting from others wouldn’t make us feel lesser. Maybe, just maybe, we would begin to understand that taking is a form of giving as well.