Over the years many more people have told me that it’s easier for them to give than to receive. I think many would agree. Why?
Loving to Give
For starters, most people love to give. A part of our moral fabric, espoused for centuries and across diverse religious beliefs, we recognize giving as essential to goodness.
“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” (St. Francis of Asissi )
“They who give have all things: they who withhold have nothing.” (Hindu quote)
Apart from goodness, giving seems to put us in charge.
While there is little doubt that true love and generosity motivate the giving in our volunteer work, exhausting child care and even our hours of shopping and standing on lines to buy the perfect gift- we often feel more sense of control when we are giving than when we are receiving.
Receiving is Complicated
Although receiving can be wonderful, it is complicated. For some, the essentials of care and love have always been given, so they find it easy to trust and receive. For others being the recipient connotes need, dependency and expectancy. It is avoided because it has too often been associated with anxiety and disappointment.
For many, regardless of history – receiving is a difficult position. It feels incongruous to be anything but thankful when someone is giving you something. The moral code for many includes not only generosity but gratitude!
Giving and Receiving as Counterparts
The fact is – whether we prefer giving and avoid receiving or the reverse, giving and receiving are not separate events. They are counterparts that are inextricably connected. There really is no true giving without receiving and no receiving without giving.
What does this mean?
The real joy comes in the mutually shared moment of exchange. That doesn’t mean equal gifts or equal efforts. It just means that when the offering – be it a gift, a feeling, a compliment, a new well or a meal is embraced and received in a way that sends back a gift of delight, joy, gratitude or appreciation- the exchange is mutual. A gift has been given and received.
What Makes Mutual Exchange Possible?
Two strategies, Self-Reflection, the consideration of self, and Empathy, the consideration of the other, can enhance giving and receiving. Consider taking a closer look at yourself as giver and receiver.
Do You Give In A Way That Makes Receiving Easy?
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. (Pierre Corneille)
Do You Receive in a Way that Makes Giving Possible?
One woman speaks with fond memory of the tiny sequined red dress her husband gave her for Christmas four weeks after the birth of their first child. Managing to squeeze into this dress was almost as difficult as giving birth – but the look on his face was the gift she carried for a lifetime!
Accepting Aunt Grace’s cheeseboard each year validates her wish to be a giver in the only way she can.
God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with. (Billy Graham)
When Giving and Receiving Are Both Easy
If we are human, we will never quite master the ease of giving or receiving. But the effort to understand and give to another and the effort to receive and trust what is offered is at the heart of our human connection.
For Further Reading:
Honor Yourself: The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving by Patricia Spardaro
Photo by mmolek1, available under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license.
This post currently has
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.
From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: December 3, 2010 | World of Psychology (December 3, 2010)
Best of Our Blogs: December 3, 2010 (December 3, 2010)
From Psych Central's website:
Part 2: Are You Living By the Fruit of the Spirit or the Fruit of the Flesh? | Adventures in Positive Psychology (May 18, 2011)
Last reviewed: 3 Dec 2010