learn what your strengths are and avoid pitfalls

Will Giving, Honesty, and Caring Will Damage You?

When you know yourself, You’ll win all battles – Sun Tzu

Know yourself and you won’t see battles as battles

I saw that float by on Twitter last week and had a chance to ponder.

I remade it for my own inner self into: “Know yourself and you won’t see battles as battles”.

What are battles but conflict?

Isn’t knowing also the understanding?

Knowing yourself should also be being at peace within yourself – where does Sun Tzu get off in continuing such a negative point of view such as ‘battle’?

Here’s a little exercise for you to try:


Where Am I and Where Aren’t I?

Get your pen and paper out, readiness for making a list (or mindmap, if you’re into those like me)

Jot down all your strengths or, at least, what you think your strengths are

And now, list out reasons why people might view your strengths as weaknesses or mistrust.


Examples Might Look Like

An example mindmap might have some of these areas.

perceived strengths in relationship
Click for a larger image

As you can see, strengths can be giving, having feelings, trusting, helpful inquisitive, honesty, and caring.

You’d have to agree those are some powerfully positive character traits to have.

Well, now let’s look at the other side of the coin.

I’m fully aware what other people think of you is entirely their business.

That said, their reactions to your strengths can often lead you to confusion as you’re simply unaware the delivery of your actions isn’t necessarily ‘landing’ with the other person in the way it was intended.

So this is simply about being aware.



I wish everyone can be honest and I’m sure you do too.

Do you?

Being honest with other people can be a dangerous ground to stand on.

Other people can be hurt by honesty. Other people can build resentment as many live their lives playing games and political power broking.

And even other people simply don’t want honesty and will push you away from them – do you know some people know love to be told they’re good looking, despite some imperfections and get dismayed if you happen to hint at a blemish?



How can being helpful possibly be seen as a weakness or an area that could do you damage?

Ever known someone you find as a nuisance?

I know I have, yet when you look at it from the viewpoint that they’re being helpful and you’re not seeing it in the same light as their delivery, gives you an idea.

Believe it or not, there are members of our community that are ‘takers’. Your own spouse might be a taker.


Giving of Yourself

To give is to receive, as they say.

If you are unaware, giving of yourself can be fraught with road-bumps.

Give too much and your enthusiasm can be seen as overpowering, to some people.

Give too quickly and some will push back to resist your well-intentioned offers and even feel rushed into something (while I go with my gut instinct, lots of people need time to think things through).

So then there’s those who love to take it all. You end up sometimes feeling used and hurtful and they continue to take until you simply need to walk away.


The Idea Here

Still keep positive and retain your strengths, in the knowledge of potential pitfalls.

Knowing your inner self from a balanced perspective leads to zero battles within.

Be aware of the other side and embrace and learn from reaction and interaction.


Your Turn Now

  • What do you think? Can you be TOO good?
  • Have you had this happen to you?
  • Click one of the Share buttons – your friends can then read this article too.

When Giving, Honesty and Caring Will Damage You 1

Enjoying newly found freedoms in South-East Asia, Martin is a down to earth, honest, quirky humor, compassionate and upfront kinda guy. Easy going and love to laugh. Into good food, wine and great company. I’ll talk and try to help anyone.
Drop me a message and let’s start there, OK?

Martin Cooney – who has written posts on GeekandJock.

13 thoughts on “When Giving, Honesty and Caring Will Damage You”
  1. Thank you Martin for showing me how far I have come. I remember in an earlier life I was a counsellor for 15 years and saw mainly women. The lessons of knowing themselves, being a giver, honest and caring of others and it being to their detrament.

    We are given such mixed messages around right and wrong and good and bad. I used to talk of selfishness and most women were horrified that I would suggest that being "selfish" was a good thing. I wish I could have given them Ayn Rand's book "The Virtue of Selfishness." I would give them that to read for greater understanding.

    Thank goodness for the 15 years as it was I who needed the therapy. I used to speak to people of giving to themselves and it was sometimes like talking to a brick wall and myself.

    Now with some distance and, like Adrian, having done many years of Personal Development can see how knowing oneself and being a receiver as well as a giver has meant I have a more balanced life. In fact as the years have passed and I gain more wisdom live just keeps getting better.

    Keep up the comment. With gratitude


    1. Great you got something from the post, Margaret.
      Lots of us have done Personal Development, including myself and other members. For those seeking answers within or wanting another viewpoint is why I penned the post. Also wonderful to re-take another look at ourselves as well – I do a number of various exercises, from time to time.

      Life should always get better as we traverse our path (with it's little roadbumps)

  2. “Living consciously involves being genuine, listening and responding to others honestly and openly. Being in the moment.”
    Sidney Poitier:-s

    I wrote something different yesterday about neutrality and giving energy from a place of love. The comment got lost somewhere in cyberspace that is the divine internet because I'd not logged in! :-s

    I've since been able to enjoy others comments, particularly Mitch Brown and Annie Infinitie :) Yes let's keep evolving, learning to be conscious and living in the now (the present moment) and loving ALL life.

    When you are not attached to the outcome, when you are aware of what is happening for others as well as yourself, you become the witness, the one observing from a place of neutrality. You can choose the reality you create, which is what I got initially from Martin's “Know yourself and you won't see battles as battles”. Only you can make yourself happy – why not accept that everything is perfect the way it is? Things can be going wrong, feelings/emotions can be triggered that are less than perfect for sure but knowing that these pass and I can still be right here, right now loving life makes it a heck of a lot more effortless, carefree, stress free, peaceful, enjoyable.

    Also I appreciate honesty when it is given from the heart, when the intention is to raise my awareness in a loving way … eg when I have not been standing in my power – depending on others to make the decision for me. Being told that my perception is orientated on the future/past instead of being the change I want right now. I can then choose to be empowered and act differently, start making decisions, asking myself and others better questions to achieve a different result. Now that's definitely a work in progress for me … whatever happens though I am happy, loving life every moment or as much as I can until I have mastered being conscious all the time lol!

    The honesty Martin described though seemed to be more linked to fault picking or pointing out perceived imperfections! My question is what is the value of doing that? And isn’t that being judgemental? I’d much prefer to raise energy and good feelings from expressing love for others saying “you look amazing, gorgeous, fabulous”! Simple actions like smiling and power words all help to communicate love and joy. These can have a ripple effect, sending a wave of love, which may be why ideas like pay it forward are being embraced more and more e.g. Buy 1 Give 1, We Feed Kids schemes. It feels good to give, to share love in this way!

    Wishing you a lovely day always – keep on evolving and experiencing the present moment. Emily x

    1. Thanks and great comments, Em.

      The point I was trying to make is simply in knowing the balance within yourself and that strengths that are perceived can be seen in an entirely different light by others. I described a method that worked for me in being able to see that within myself. As opposed to fault picking or imperfections within me, it was more one of those 'Aha, I get it now' moments of enlightenment – which then led to an even greater level of understanding and therefore love.

      It's all around being woken up with a better level of empowerment and balance, within and without.

  3. Goodness me – home early from work and eventually finding my way back here after a week or so and what do I find?
    So many really interesting new blogs and forum posts and this one looks to be causing a few differing opinions. That's got to be good for eveyone's point of view to take in.

    Great article and thanks for sharing again, Martin.

    For me there's a beginning, middle and more (as opposed to an end). Your article crafts a really great beginning process for people to ponder on and lots of readers will have never done that before which is why you probably wrote the post. Awakening time for many. The Middle area can be short or long and I know for me, that Middle time is probably still going on or is it the More time? :)

    Main thing is, we're all continually evolving or, at least, should be. And it's the should be part that maybe some people who have commented here have forgotten. Some great comments from different points of view.

  4. No matter who you are Martin mountains will need to be moved… :) at every level of growth there are new challenges for all of us – or else we would all have wings … just checking … no not yet LOL

    I have had to move past so many of my beginner blocks in order to live at all .. long story and now move in the world as authentically as possible in every moment … yet life still generously allows me to experience myself as human and even when being in an authentic place other people's perspectives of my 'alterior' motives can at times create a question within from which I grow.

    My definition of a "jerk" will let you know where I am with that, "A jerk is a child of the universe who has been sent to teach me something I would not otherwise have learned." :)

    Giving freely of oneself can become automatic, however for total authenticity in every moment we also need to be aware enough to allow others to 'get our motives wrong' and allow that to be ok within ourselves and allow them to move at their own pace.

    We don't really need to teach at all, we just need to lead and that usually means having a non-defensive attitude an ability to move past the need to explain, or as my very wise 16 yo son told his wouldbe school bullies "Your opinion of me is none of my business." Now you have to love that!

    much love Annie

  5. First and foremost, thanks Martin for exploring your thoughts on what feels like an ancient philosophy, where battles literally were the order of the day from an external point of view.
    A quote from: The art of War which has always held me in good stead is: When we appear to be at our strongest, we are at our weakest; When we appear to be weak we are at our strongest.

    Moving through a "Spiritual" pathway for many years on a quest to BE Zen consciousness, the greatest words of wisdom given to me were " in order to be Zen, you have to experience all aspects of life and living.. What a ride.. I certainly learnt to appreciate both my strengths and weaknesses.
    MInd mapping has not been something that I have participated in a lot, however when I have, I must say I enjoyed the experience as it opened me to further awareness.
    I would love to say I have reached a point of being Zen consciousness right here right now, however the beautiful thing is it doesn't matter anymore as everything simply is as it IS.

    Once upon a time I used to view feeling fragile as a weakness, now if I feel fragile, I allow the emotion to be and it quickly passes.

    If I need to bring to bring my analytical brain to the forefront then so it IS.

    I value the gift of real friendship where "real communication" is the reality with no intention of hurting or being hurt.
    I always remember a dear friend giving me some feedback when I first started my radio program on Motivational Radio and the value was that what I would have perceived as criticism in the past, I took as a gift. Looked at what was said and noticed the truth of it, so made a conscious effort to change. The results have benefited me greatly.
    So it's all about the intention of giving and the perception of the one receiving.

    Yes, we are all on a journey of accountability and responsibility and how liberating it is to Own our Power and simply Be.

  6. I think we can all relate to the article as we have all been at this place where what we believe is positive is misinterpreted or received on the other end as a negative. Also being who we are has "g…ot us in trouble".

    But I must say, that is not my world as much as it was 6 years ago. After the process of what I call "waking up", when I became aware and started to develop my authentic and real self, life is a lot smoother than that.

    The whole article is based on the judgement and duality of life. Good & bad, positive and negative, preservation and damage. Not denying the duality but all this judgement is quite exhausting. Life, when it was like this felt a little like this: "ooh something just happened and this is bad. I don't like it when it's bad. Why did it happen? Did I do something wrong? Why did someone do that? Are they a bad person? Am I in danger? Bad things happen to bad people. Does that mean I'm bad? What am I going to do now? I thought I put in place preventative measures?" etc etc. I don't know what others go through but the worry and anxiety and reaction was quite intense for me.

    So let's imagine that we have transcended the duality of life (I know, it sounds all very Zen) and that we lived in a space and place of acceptance. Life is what it is and I experience it as it is. What would life be like? Reality becomes very manageable at this level. The loading and burden of judgement of something to be good or bad is simply just absent. It goes something like this, "Ooh, something just happened, what am I going to do? What will work best? Let's do this!" The thinking to action cycle is quite short and things happen a lot faster. The feedback loop is simple and straight forward.

    Then I asked myself, from this place, what is my life going to be about? Am I going to live life avoiding (perceived) pain or am I going to make something of this one chance I've got? Part of this result came out of creating my Life Purpose. Part of this is the principle of being 100% responsible for the outcome of my life. Mainly, it comes from developing a philosophy of life that works for me.

    So now, my life is all about expressing myself in the world. My work as a success coach is geared for giving and making a difference. From a place of awareness and acceptance, I choose to help and give of myself with no deterioration. Does it mean that I give uncontrollably? No. I give what I give, when I do and I don't when I don't. It's simple and there is no judgement of myself whether that is bad or not. Life is free. Enjoy it, give to it, dance in it

    1. Thanks for commenting, Adrian.
      Maybe you might have misinterpreted my post – it's meant to be the beginning of a realisation as opposed to what is, ultimately, where we all should be ending up. Which is where you might be now – great for you.

      GeekandJock is all about highlighting challenges in life, giving some substance and meaning to those things and providing an avenue for expression and, hopefully, a few answers and solutions along the way.

      Essentially, the post highlights the place we are or have been, raises potential roadblocks along the way and tries to give a balanced perspective to follow. Nice to see you're there already. Perhaps it would a wonderful experience for you to blog here about that journey you've experienced – I'm sure it would certainly provide our readers with your own unique point of view.

      1. Thanks for taking the time, Martin, in jotting down these thoughts.

        It certainly it a brilliant place to start and ponder aspects of our lives and brain and determine where we should be headed and to end up. I understand Adrian's comment to a certain degree, in that he's already been through and witnessed what you're writing about.

        For me though, being able to read about and understand another's learnings helps me grow and become a better person. Always nice to read that another person is in a place where you'd ideally like to be however that's almost an ego trip if that success story also omits some details that helps others. That's the very thing I always seem to great from all these so-called 'Success Coaches' – often they are in need of helpful success tips. (broad sweeping comment I know but that's been my experience so far)

        1. Gary,

          The details omitted were I did Landmark forum, Landmark Advanced course, 4 years of Landmark seminars, 2 Wealth seminars, got my Wealth Profile etc etc
          Martin did say to blog it but 6 years of personal growth is a bit much to blog.
          However, practising what I said in my post "imagine that we have transcended the duality of life (I know, it sounds all very Zen) and that we lived in a space and place of acceptance. Life is what it is and I experience it as it is. " Will get results.
          No ego in telling publicly what I tell me clients.

          Your next reality is only a curtain away!

          1. Loved the article I saw via Twitter from someone else. And very interesting reading the comments – I mostly understood where Tetka was talking about.

            Adrian: From what I read, there IS an ego at work and certainly areas where you need to justify yourself as correct. 100 years of study doesn't make anyone any sort of expert. Coming into a forum and tearing into some guy's post and extolling how you're an expert with whatever study history AND, as far as I can see, never having contributed to the same site tells me volumes about where you actually are. Probably trying to beat up business for yourself, I think.

            Will be spending a bit more time reading some other stuff. Looks to be a lot of maturity, contribution and giving back, simply for the sake of contributing. Something rare in today's Internet.

      2. Thanks, Martin, for your acknowledgement.

        There are certainly many ways to approach a topic. And your article was certainly one of Beginnings.

        I read your topic a couple of times and I took it for what it is. It is certainly a common way of thinking. In the early days of my personal growth, one counsellor certainly used this thinking to help me self regulate and bring stability. I just felt that while it was great to get people where they are at, I just wanted those who did not like that and wanted to know a perspective of potentially where that would lead. I was there 6 years ago.

        Also, I wanted people to realise, what I believe to be the cause of that perspective. As much as that perspective is valid and can be proven to be right, there is a cause to that. That's what I called "judgement" and also highlighting the phenomenon of life called "duality" (the paradoxical opposites; good vs bad, positive vs negative).

        Certainly there was 6 years of "middle" that was missing and I wanted to show a potential "end" for the journey.
        Certainly a big part of the middle is the journey of discovering my Life Purpose which I have now refined to a 2 month journey for my clients.

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