Giving Your All Can Leave You With Nothing



There are times when I hear a quote, a comment, or a lyric from a song, and it stays with me long after the words have been read or heard.  It is almost like they seep into the deep recesses of my mind and permeate my heart and baby soul to their very core, and I cannot forget them, even if I wanted to do so.  Some of these words give me pause, in that they make me see things in a new light, make me laugh, change my perspective, move me to tears, be they happy or sad ones, etc.  Words always have been so very powerful to me, which explains my love of, and appreciation for, a great book, a compelling story, a scintillating conversation, and people who are articulate.  So, a few weeks ago, when my mentor and friend, Trude, said to me, “Don’t give away what you can’t afford to lose”, it resonated with me.  I have that profound statement written on a Post-It note and pinned on the bulletin board in my closet where I have other significant quotes.  Some days, I notice it, and other days, I don’t.  For some reason, today was a day that it was not only noticed, but it has been on my mind all day.

I have been mulling over that particular statement and thinking about how it applies to my life.  As anyone who knows me well can attest, I have a big heart, which is both a blessing and a curse.  It is one of my biggest assets, and it is also one of my greatest flaws.  There’s an inner struggle that quietly rages between my head and my heart, with my heart usually winning out, which is not always a negative outcome.  Yet, sometimes, when my heart “wins”, I end up losing, as I give away what I cannot afford to lose, such as my personal well-being, my self-respect, my hopes and dreams, my truth, and a host of other priceless commodities that I have handed over on a silver platter, only to have that silver platter returned to me empty and tarnished, if returned at all.  This has been a self-destructive pattern that has played out with different people under a variety of circumstances for as long as I can remember, and I have been a very slow learner in how to end this pattern, until recently.

As with most valuable lessons in my life, I came to the realization that being big-hearted does not mean being fool-hearted, after repeatedly allowing myself to be hurt.  Now, I am learning to guard my heart without being guarded, as I do not want to swap my big heart for a cold heart.  Like most things, balance is the key, and I understand that I need to find this balance, lest I continue to end up feeling broken-hearted.  Now that I have figured out what I am not willing to lose and cannot afford to lose, I am cherishing and protecting these identified tangible and intangible things like I would precious jewels, for they are indeed.

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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2 replies

  1. Well said. I think a lot of us moms have this problem too. Love Trude, “Don’t give away what you can’t afford to lose.” Profound.


    • Shannon, thank you so much for taking the time to read this and sharing your feedback. Also, many thanks for all of your support and helpful hints. It’s nice that we can our living of writing without a SHA english teacher grading it:)


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