When Giving Is Not Giving

Have you ever woken up to find yourself in an intimate relationship where you knew you loved your partner very deeply but realized you were emotionally tired, spiritually drained and mentally confused?  Where you questioned whether your partner really loved you for who you are and not for what you can give to them?

Last week, I wrote about the perspective of surrender and making decisions without any attachment of AEOs - agendas, expectations and obligations.  In this post, I will take the concept of surrendering one step further by exploring the nature of when giving is not giving in regards to our intimate relationship.


Normally, giving is thought of as a monetary or material experience. In this context, it is surrendering and giving of ourselves without any attachments to AEOs.  In this conscious space, the gifts we give originate from our soul and are intended to honor ourselves, our partner and the relationship. Giving is normally seen as a very positive thing.  But as with everything, there is a light and a dark side to giving.

In my last blog series, “In Order to Win, You Must Surrender”, I mentioned that in April, 2008, I made a conscious decision to surrender my AEOs to the woman I loved.  Even after everything that has transpired since then, I have no regrets and know it was the right decision.  I am so grateful for all of the experiences because they taught me so much about myself and inspired me even more to continue my journey of learning, growing and helping others.  Over time and with a lot of introspection, I came to the harsh and painful reality that there is a fine line between giving of ourselves to others and giving our power away. 

Many of us have experienced a time when we have given of ourselves and while doing so; ended up giving our personal power away to someone we love.   I ignored the symptoms for a long time but when this distinction became obvious to me, I made a conscious choice to reclaim my personal power.

When we give our power away, we do not honor our BETTY.  BETTY is an acronym that came to me late one night while I was helping a special friend work through a challenging intimate relationship.  BETTY stands for “Be Enthusiastically True To You.”  

If we are not true to ourselves, we end up rationalizing and justifying our partner’s decisions about how they choose to SHOW UP.  Basically, it’s an inner con job used to validate our decision to surrender and give of ourselves and to quash our inner voice that is telling us our partner is not showing up.     

When we do not honor BETTY, we give our power away.  When we give our power away, we do not see the truth or listen to the wisdom of our inner voice.  When we do not listen to our inner voice, we make decisions that are not aligned with our standards, integrity and values. When we give our power away, we are not being authentic and our soul cannot be at peace.

The intentional act of surrendering and giving of ourselves to the person we love is one of the cornerstones of the foundation for intimate relationships.  There is no greater calling in life than to honor, love and respect our partner and bask in the peace, purpose and passion that exists in this magnificent type of relationship.

The problem arises when only one of the partners lives by this philosophy. Unfortunately, there are people who are more focused on conquering and receiving than surrendering and giving.  I like to say that words are just letters strung together.  Anyone can say I love you or I am here for you.  It is the discrepancy between their words and actions that speaks volumes about their intentions and desires.

If your partner’s words do not match their actions and they do not appreciate and reciprocate, then you know you are traveling down different paths in life.  As the old saying goes, it takes two to tango.  If you are not on the same path together, then you will never cross the bridge to dance in your field of sunflowers.

Intimate relationships are living, breathing gardens that give us the wonderful opportunity to learn, stretch, grow, inspire and contribute.  Amazing change happens when intimate partners are able to break through their own denials and give from their authentic self.  This attitude of empowered giving is critical for us to adopt and practice in our daily lives in order for us to create the space where safety, love and joy can flourish.

 When we consciously choose to let go of our AEOs – agendas, expectations and obligations - and get out of our own way, we will understand how our meaning machine mind creates the disempowered stories and victim perspectives that originate from unresolved memory wounds. 

When we process the present moment through the lens of past pain or future anxiety, we ignite the fuse for our habitual reactive thoughts, emotions and behaviors. These reactive traits block us from surrendering, giving of ourselves and truly connecting with and loving the person we say we love. 

When we drop our defenses of denial and make a conscious choice to surrender to the power of presence, we cross the bridge of awareness.  This is when we stop accusing, blaming and assuming and begin to free ourselves from our innermost fears that have been holding us back for years.  This is when we SHOW UP as our authentic self.  This is when our soul is at peace.  This is when MAGIC happens!

So today, I ask you to reflect on these questions:  What AEOs do you need to detach from so you can surrender and give from your authentic self to enjoy an empowered loving relationship? What decision(s) do you need to make today that will bring peace to your soul?   What do you need to do (or stop doing) to love and honor your BETTY? 

The Flip Sides of AEOs
In Order to Win, You Must Surrender ~ Part 2

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