Toxic generosity. What is that? What is this phrase? It all started with a tweet I saw about toxic postivity and it got me thinking, I do the same thing with generosity!
It was one of those 'Oh yeah😬', moments I was thinking about how I spend my time and what I'm doing and what I want to be doing and how to be more successful in what I'm doing. I'm just always being generous with my time. And it's not helpful, well not to me at least. It's absolutely helpful to those I have helped build business, communities and careers, but it hasn't advanced my goals. I don't feel badly for doing any of that or wish that I hadn't. What I do feel badly for is that I did not recognize what I was doing earlier.
Toxic generosity goes back to my people pleasing roots. I either jump at the chance to help someone or worse yet, I self-volunteer by just doing something without anyone asking. This comes at the expense of myself, always. I volunteer to do something even if I know I don't have time to do it, even if I know it's going to cause me undue stress and anxiety, even if I know it means compromising on something else I was going to do personally, I will still help said person. That's toxic.
Just like you can't be on social media all the time, you can't always be giving to other people. leaving nothing left for yourself. When you do this, you've put off doing all of the things that you actually need to be working on. I've don that in my creator journey, a lot, like 99% a lot and unpaid. That means that I've been devaluing myself and my skills with my toxic generosity leaving no time left for me to pursue paid opportunities. Enter the vicious cycle of saying yes, setting expectations and you have people who are relying on you of your own accord and things that you have set up for yourself that are no longer sustainable. So what do you do? How do you break the cycle of toxic generosity? One simple but incredibly difficult answer, say no.
If you are a people pleaser, such as myself, saying no is an incredibly difficult thing to do, but the more I have been doing it, the better it feels. Now that does not mean I say no to everything. It means clear boundaries in what I say yes to. I ONLY volunteer to do certain things that align with my goals rather than detract from the path that I'm on. Saying no still stings, and brings on an internal struggle that I don't think will ever go away. Start to put boundaries in place to take care of yourself, to help other people and to move yourself towards your goals. I think it's human nature. This is knowing your own limits and understanding when your level of generosity has become too toxic. Is it a feeling? Is it your energy level? Is it more tangible in that you aren't meeting weekly goals? Are friends and family mentioning how much you're working and you aren't seeing any progress? Paying attention to internal and external cues and writing them down will help unlock your own patterns of toxic generosity.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Head on over to Twitter and drop your comments to keep the discussion rolling.
Have an amazing day!