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When you give and they (keep) taking

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One day while I was away at college, a group of friends and I decided to have a “city picnic” on the roof just outside my apartment’s bedroom window.

After settling ourselves on a mishmash of beach towels and blankets with a lunch we had quickly cobbled together, a friend (who was also my boyfriend) realized he didn’t have a drink. So, I handed him my newly opened can of soda.

I watched as he proceeded to take a very, long “sip” from it when suddenly, unable to stop myself, I reached out and pinched the straw. With the flow of soda abruptly halted, he was left sucking in only air.

As a look of utter shock crossed his face, rather than apologize for my action, I argued it wasn’t (exactly) my fault. That for years I had lived with a brother whose request for a “sip” always drained my drink. I was afraid that he, too, would take it all and leave me with nothing.

My argument, however, didn’t quite cut it and the relationship ended a few hours later.

My point, though, in sharing this story with you today is because it’s contains within it a powerful “life-ism”. For the story highlights a common mindset and behavior that often arises after years of giving of ourselves to a job, to a certain relationship or to our business.

Situations where we gave and “they” took, but offered us little, if anything, in return.

Usually in response to such situations, until we leave them or make a significant change, we often decide to “pinch the straw.”

We shut down.

We “check out.”

We begin to conduct ourselves in such a way that we only “do or give just enough to get by and no more.”

But one of the unintended consequences when we live this way is that it keeps our lives small. It stops the flow of more life to us, too—and this includes the flow of more money, a more fulfilling job, better relationships, more clients, etc.

As a result, even though we may want to move on from our situation into that bigger life vision, any change we make will only create results that mirror our current mindset. We literally will recreate our current life situation, but with a different cast of characters.

So if we aren’t interested in experiencing more of the same and would rather step into that bigger, yet different and more abundant life experience, we need to shift our mindset to one of generosity: To ourselves and to whomever we interact with.

Then, our actions need to follow accordingly in every situation and in all that we do—and even if we are on the way out.

In this way, we overflow the container that is our present life experience.

Our generous mindset and spirit grows too large for our current life or situation and so we attract that bigger, more abundant life for ourselves.

And all because we knew better than to pinch the straw.

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