Giving and Receiving – the Right Balance

giving and receivingIt’s been said that there are “givers” and there are “takers”. Which one are you? There’s a well-known quote from the Bible that says, “It is better to give than it is to receive.” We really do get more out of life when we practice giving rather than focusing on getting. However, the giving-receiving concept has become foreign to many in our Society.

How can you learn to value giving and receiving gracefully as an important part of the human experience?

It begins by developing an awareness of what others need to be happy. If you can’t tell because you have a hard time reading them, simply ask them what makes them happy.

Notice how it feels when you receive something. Many people feel undeserving, and their hesitancy can be interpreted as not liking what’s been offered. If someone gives you something, they feel you are deserving, so don’t minimize or dismiss their feelings. Let their generosity reach your heart!

Recognize that accepting from others is actually giving them joy. Rather than questioning the complement or gift, see the happiness on their faces as they give it and focus on that. It makes them feel good that they’re making a difference in your life in some small way. You are honoring them by accepting gracefully.

Don’t feel obligated to reciprocate. When you feel obligated, you give grudgingly. If you love and appreciate a person, you’ll look for ways to make them happy. So you’ll keep your eyes open for opportunities. Spontaneously giving gifts out of love rather than feeling obligated means a great deal.

Let people be good to you. Notice when they say, “please” and “thank you”, and reward them with a smile. And when someone opens a door for you, it’s your turn to say “thank you”. When someone is talking with you, really listen to them. And then when you have something to say, they’ll be more inclined to listen to you.

We can nourish ourselves on a spiritual level if we deepen our ability to receive gracefully. Even if the gift isn’t something that we wanted or needed, a heartfelt “Thank you for thinking of me” acknowledges the greater gift – their love for you. It does take a measure of vulnerability to allow their kindness to touch your emotions. It’s not something you need to feel embarrassed about. And it does take internal strength to live in the moment because it may not feel comfortable. However, that moment of smiles, hugs and tears deepens your emotional connection and bonds.

Do you struggle with feeling unworthy? Is your low self-esteem draining your life and relationships of joy? Do you want to give to others but you have difficulty figuring out how to do it? Many people have found that various forms of psychotherapy have helped them to change. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and let’s work out a therapy that’s best for you.

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