Human "Being" vs. Human "Giver"
As I’ve gone deeper in my rewiring practice, and I’ve started to “unpeel the layers” of my onion, lots of POPs and core beliefs have risen to the surface. And one that I’ve really had to be aware of and work to undo is my over responsibility for others. I’ve always been a caring person, and have always looked out for others in my life. I guess that’s just something I learned from my mom, someone who is super warm and looks after everyone in our family.
While I never want to be cold towards others, I’ve learned that some of my need to help others isn’t actually healthy for me. Instead of focusing on my own self-care, I’ve spent years focused on keeping other people happy and managing their emotions instead of my own (people-pleasing). And through DNRS, I’ve finally taken back my own happiness and started setting boundaries for doing what is actually important to me vs. what I think others want.
I recently read a book that was recommended by a fellow coach called Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, written by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. It really opened my eyes to the ways women are conditioned to be the “human givers” vs. “human beings” that most men are. Of course, this is a feminist viewpoint, but the examples they give in the book really hammer the point home that many women believe—and society tells us, over and over again—that our main purpose in life is to produce children, care for our family, manage our negative emotions (as in, don’t express them at all) and look pretty while doing it all.
Philosopher Kate Manne describes a system in which one class of people, the “human givers,” are expected to offer their time, attention, affection, and bodies willingly, placidly, to the other class of people, the “human beings.” The implication in these terms is that human beings have a moral obligation to be or express their humanity, while human givers have a moral obligation to give their humanity to the human beings.
It’s no wonder that so many women end up dealing with burnout after taking on too much. Because we also have careers and have to excel there while dealing with all of the other expectations of us. I’ve been aware of “human giver syndrome” my whole life, but I’ve never really had a name for it. It makes me wonder if this is part of the reason I see a lot more women dealing with limbic system impairment than men. And while I'm sure the patriarchy will not go away any time soon, I am happy that the world is finally waking up to the fact that its existence is harmful for at least half of our population.
In order to be able to have enough time to focus on myself to actually be successful in rewiring, I’ve had to be very clear with my husband when it’s time for me to do my practices, and when I need time alone. Since I’ve been rewiring for over two years now, we’ve gotten into a rhythm and he pretty much knows the drill. He’s been amazing in terms of taking on more housework when I don’t have the time. And I make sure to thank him and tell him how much I appreciate him. I’ve also made him aware of all of the emotional labor I’ve done in the past and how I’m trying to do less of it. Things like organizing the home, dealing with bills, and planning just about everything—from dinner parties, to trips, to what we're having for dinner that night.
I’ve also had to learn how to pace myself and give myself more time off. Old me would just do everything to the point of burnout, but I know that’s not sustainable and definitely not healthy. So, I’ve had to learn how to scale back, and try and focus on the important things vs. just doing everything under the sun and always trying to “achieve” something. This applies to everything from work, building my side business and even things that are supposed to be relaxing, like exercise. I’ve found that the more I rewire, the less I want to do punishing exercise like HIIT, which used to be a staple for me. I’ve realized that I don’t actually enjoy it—I was just doing it to lose weight and fit into society’s expectations of me, i.e., a smaller pants size. So, I’ve turned to gentler exercise like yoga and kettlebells instead.
And while it’s still a big unlearning process, I’ve realized that it’s pretty nice to be a human “being” again! And I wish that for everyone who is rewiring along with me—let’s be human beings for most of our time, and human givers when we want to be. When it doesn’t take away from our own happiness. And especially for those of us who are high achievers, it’s time to finally RELAX! <— I'll toast to that!
Agatha is a certified life coach (Whole Person Certified Coach®) who helps women find the clarity and confidence to go after their dreams. For the last fifteen years, she has worked in various digital marketing roles, running large global programs for software companies. Two years ago, she discovered the power of neuroplasticity and has (almost!) cured herself of over ten years of mysterious chronic illness. She tried numerous different protocols and treatments to heal, but nothing touched her symptoms until she learned of a program called DNRS.
She wholeheartedly believes in the power of changing your thoughts to change your reality, and has created a mini course called GET UNSTUCK to help her clients identify, transform and release their limiting beliefs.