Is it really better to give than to receive? We are taught so. We are told so. Our parents and ministers and philosophers admonish us so. In my work I have found that many of us hold this belief and take it one step further. Within us we believe it is good to give and bad/wrong to receive because of these very teachings. Even if we don’t have it that strongly, we certainly focus on the giving rather than on receiving.
Once in a team building training with a management team, I asked people to raise their hands if they felt they were good at giving. Most everyone raised their hands though some were higher than others. Then I asked them to raise their hand if there were good receivers. Very few raised their hands, maybe 2 out of 23. And even those hands were definitely at half mast. We had a room full of givers and very few reluctant receivers. In that case what happens when your boss or a client appreciates you. What do you do if you have a feeling that receiving the appreciation is wrong? Are you going to take it in or avert it somehow. How does your boss or the client feel when you do that?
The more I think about giving and receiving the more it puzzles me. How did we get to these beliefs that giving is so good and receiving is the second class citizen. Who does the giver give to if there’s no one to receive? What is a quarterback going to do without a receiver? Well, he can run it. But, even if he hands off the ball to a runner, that runner still has to receive the hand off and hold onto it.
I wonder? Is it better to breathe out than to breathe in? Might not giving and receiving be a part of that same flow? Where is the giver without a receiver. If someone offers me their prize gift and I push it away, saying “Oh no, I couldn’t, to receive from you is bad,” where does that leave the giver? Now, of course we don’t really say that out loud, but if we have the belief in our consciousness that’s blocking true receiving, we might as well say, “Why are you giving to me? You know I can’t receive it, receiving is wrong.”
When I was a little girl my Mom would tell me to refuse things that were offered when we were visiting people. She explained to me more than once that it was impolite to say yes if I was offered a piece of chocolate cake or apple pie or candy. I could never understand this. Someone had made a cake and they wanted to give me some of it. I wanted to enjoy it. Why was that impolite? You can guess what happened. I was a bit of a rebel so I always said yes. I did remember to say Thank you. That didn’t help my Mother look any less uncomfortable. I thought it was a Southern thing, but I’ve heard the same from Northern folks, and western folks. Recently I was working with a Chinese woman and she told me that she was always told by her mother to refuse what was offered at least 3 times. She thought it was more of a Chinese cultural thing. I replied to her that it was also a Southwestern Virginian thing and a Southern thing and on and on. Maybe it’s all over the world, this training to block receiving.
Thanksgiving is here. Think about the word. Thanks Giving. If we are giving thanks, what are we giving thanks for – things we’ve given or things we’ve received? And who’s getting the thanks? In order to give thanks, we must first receive. If we are thanking God, we must first be open to receive from God, do we not?
We must breathe in (receive) in order to breathe out (give) and we must breathe in again and then breathe out again. Breathing is a dynamic flow that gives us life. Why are not giving and receiving given the same status?
Recently a client (who at that moment was blocking receiving) said to me he’d be giving out dinners on Thanksgiving to homeless folks. I felt his sincere desire to give, to bring someone else some happiness and joy and pleasure on this day. As I saw the scene in my head, I also saw a grateful person saying “Thank You” back to him for the plate of food, and maybe “Thank You” for his very presence there on this day. Now, the receiver was becoming the giver. And the “Thank You” was their offering. But, would the “giver” open and receive the “Thank You.” That simple heartfelt “Thank you” might be all this homeless person had to offer. And, might not the energy of that simple thank you carry with it joy, love, energy to lift and fuel another giving? But what if there’s a belief within that receiving is wrong? What happens then. The “Thank you” is deflected. The giver just keeps giving without receiving and at some point becomes depleted and drained. What if, receiving is the refueling for more giving. And more giving inspires more receiving which refuels us to do more giving.
Now that’s a ThanksGiving I want to be a part of. Yes! It’s like the flow of the Infinity sign. It just doesn’t give out. One contributes to the other. Giving and receiving become a dynamic life giving flow. One minute I’m the giver, the next the receiver opening and enjoying that in-breath, the next the giver, one refueling the other.
So what does a belief like “It is better to give than to receive” do to us? We still receive some. There’s token receiving for sure. Someone genuinely receives from us and wants to show their gratitude and then we’re in trouble because all of a sudden we are the receivers position. If we breathe out, what follows? Breathing in. And yet how do we breathe. Many of us don’t breathe in fully, either. How many of us take those deep full belly breaths often. What does breathing shallowly do to us. It deprives us of oxygen, causes aging, the build up of stress, deterioration of the brain and many other maladies.
I’m betting that deflecting receiving or receiving shallowly does the same thing. I’m wondering how many relationships are destroyed by shallow receiving. Allison Armstrong (www.understandingmen.com) tells us that men love to make women happy, to give women pleasure. And if we women have the belief it is better to give than receive or that receiving is wrong in some way, what happens then. The energy of giving is deflected and probably both parties end up feeling unfulfilled. I used to think I had to give back everything I got. That didn’t leave a lot of time to just enjoy the sheer pleasure of being given to and to breathe in the fullness of the gift and the giver. And what about what I have to give. It is so delightful to have someone just receive and enjoy what I offer. Unless of course, they won’t receive it. Ever offered someone a compliment and had them “refuse” it? How did it feel to you?
If it’s true in relationships, its probably true in business and careers as well. Ever hear of burn out. Often it’s from giving and giving and giving. I did burn out years ago. Worked my way from temporary typist to Vice President of a management consulting firm in 7 years and then worked 80 hours a week to maintain it. I never stopped giving long enough to receive any appreciation or thanks for what I was doing. And, I burned out. Never wanted to go near another office again – and didn’t for years. Right now I do a lot of work with people, and much of it is giving. And in every moment of that giving, I’m receiving as well. Enjoying the changes people are making, enjoying what I’m seeing and learning, enjoying that I get to do something I love and am passionate about while still receiving money.
That brings up another issue. Money. It’s one of those major facilitators. Having it can facilitate a lot of giving. To get it you must receive. Interesting, huh! So we probably have caveats on receiving. It’s all right to receive if I work hard, if I earn it, if I don’t enjoy it too much,etc.
I bet if you start thinking about this you can come up with examples, too. Put them in the comments section below. I’m sure there is some controversy out there about this. And I assure you I’m open to receive it and enjoy that receiving. Your comments will be a gift allowing me to explore this further.
If you know your ability to receive fully is blocked and you are asking the Universe to assist you to manifest something new in your life, there may be a problem. Remember than if you ask the universe for something, if you truly desire something, you must also be open to receive it. Recently I’ve been doing articles about opening the runway so that your manifestations can land. Being closed to receiving is like having no runway at all. It’s like saying, I want this and receiving is bad so I can’t have it no matter how much I want it.
At this point in this article, if you made it this far, you may be asking, So what do I do about this? If the beliefs blocking the fullness of your receiving are not too deep or you are not too invested maybe this article can shift it. Awareness sometimes does that. Unfortunately most of us are taught these beliefs from an early age not only at home, but in churches and schools and everywhere else to. So this is a deep one. And ThetaHealing can excavate it rapidly and effectively, leaving you open to the full flow and joy of both giving and receiving. If you want to know more about this, call me
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Happy Thanksgiving! May you enjoy both the giving and the receiving. One last thought. If you are cooking, take time to enjoy the ones who are eating. Receive their enjoyment of your efforts. And if you are eating, enjoy that food, it’s a way of giving to the cook. And everyone, enjoy the bounty of this day, enjoy the love and peace around you, enjoy the friendship, the comraderies, the football, the cooking, the laughter. Receive it fully! Give your enjoyment fully! Thank you for being in my life.