Is it really better to give than to receive?
Which do you enjoy more, receiving or giving?
Giving vs Receiving
Giving and receiving are not at odds with one another. They actually work together to complete a cycle. In order to give, there must be a receiver to give to and when the receiver receives the gift, they are giving the giver the gift of giving. This is the natural flow of the cycle of giving and receiving. However, most of us grew up with the concept that we should be givers and not receivers. Giving makes us feel good about ourselves; strong, empowered, capable, and proud. Receiving makes us feel uncomfortable about ourselves; vulnerable, weak, powerless, and embarrassed. How did we get so out of balance with the natural flow of giving and receiving? And what can we do to re-balance the energy between the two?
Let us first look at giving; the one we are all taught to be good at. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage that it is better to give than to receive but in looking at giving in this way, we are looking at giving as an act standing by itself. We perceive ‘giving’ as the ultimate positive characteristic. And, even though it is true that few things in life are more satisfying than being able to give freely and from a full heart, giving ‘freely and from the heart’ are the key ingredients to true giving. This kind of giving does not deplete the giver. It doesn’t cause stress or guilt or anxiety or the what or why of the giving because the gift was given from the heart and not from guilt, pressure, competition, wanting to belong, wanting to be accepted, wanting a reward, wanting to fit in, wanting to…
Gifts can be anything and the most precious can be your time, your attention, your acknowledgment, or just your smile. If your gifts are from the heart, they are being given from a full cup with an offering of love attached that the receiver will feel and receive. Even asking another for help is, in a way, giving a gift to that person by giving them the opportunity to give their help to you. A genuine gift is one with no strings attached, no expectations for brownie points, or reward, or a pat on the back, or advancement. A true gift is given with no anticipation of one in return. Even a ‘thank you’ is optional when you give from the heart.
And while it certainly feels good to give, there is no joy in the giving unless there is a gracious receiver on the other end. Do you remember being a kid and being so excited for Christmas morning or your birthday that you couldn’t sleep? That joy of receiving was so innocent and pure that the air was filled with anticipation of it. Unfortunately, our ability to receive openheartedly as we did as a child was replaced with the notion that others deserve gifts more than we. Our perception of receiving turned into feelings of being unworthy, or undeserving. We’ve been taught that we need to earn a gift or a compliment, or a helping hand. This belief made us start to belittle the gifts we received by giving excuses as to why we didn’t deserve them. We became unable to accept a gift or even a compliment for what it was, just a gift.
Thank goodness receiving is actually a learnable skill! Being able to receive leads to a much more fulfilling life with more delight and joy than you might imagine possible and getting started is super simple. All you have to do is accept all gifts in whatever form – a physical gift, a helping hand, a word of advice, an invitation to dinner, a compliment, or just a smile. And while excepting these gifts, practice your internal receiving by being able to receive them through the heart knowing that you deserve them and that they were given to you from the love of another. Once you have practiced this feeling of receiving through the heart you will start to be comfortable with receiving and graciously accepting gifts in all forms with no feeling of obligation to do or say anything except maybe ‘thank you’. Receiving is the greatest gift of all because when we receive with grace and gratitude, we are giving our gifter a gift too. And once you learn to receive graciously, you will start to see giving in a whole new way.
If done properly and for the right reasons, receiving becomes giving, and giving becomes receiving. This is the natural flow of energy between the two. Giving happily and receiving graciously is key to a balance between them. They are the circulation of energy between us all and there are ways of giving and receiving that honor and value self.
In giving, we should ask ourselves, why am I giving, what does it feel like to me to give this gift, is this gift from the heart, or do I feel an ulterior motive? If our heart and gut tell us this gift is pure and without strings, we are in the flow of energy to give happily of ourselves without depleting our energy or the energy of others.
In receiving, we should ask ourselves, can I accept this gift and feel worthy of it, how does it feel to me to receive this gift, can I feel and receive the love of this gift or does it feel connected to or attached to something more? If our heart and gut tell us this gift is pure and without strings, we are in the flow of energy to receive graciously to ourselves without overwhelming our energy or the energy of others.
We need balance here in order to stay balanced within. When we give too much we feel drained and when we receive too much we feel overwhelmed. Giving and receiving are aspects of the flow of energy within the universe and if we stop the flow of either, we interfere with the nature of our energetic needs. In order to keep energy and prosperity flowing, we have to keep the energy circulating. Balancing the energy between giving and receiving is the key to maintaining balance within our lives and having love and happiness within our hearts.
Practicing the art of giving and receiving is quite simple: if you want joy, learn to give joy to others; if you want love, learn to give love to others; if you want attention from others, learn to give attention to others; if you want appreciation from others, learn to give appreciation to others; and if you want material affluence, learn to help others become materially affluent. This is the yin and yang of the energy between giving and receiving. What you want to receive you must first give. This concept is best understood by the experience of it; not the theory behind it. And as you practice this theory you will begin to understand; the receiving is actually in the giving!