Giving is considered intrinsic to generosity–be it the giving of money, time, understanding, or acts of kindness.
Receiving, on the other hand, is usually simply seen as getting something.
A closer look at giving and receiving from an interpersonal perspective invites us to consider that “ 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.
St. Francis tells us “ To give is to receive.” We might also consider “ To receive is to give.”
What does this mean?
Giving and receiving are counterparts because there is shared generosity and joy 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 newly painted room 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 by both.
What Makes a Mutual Exchange Possible?
The way that we give and the way that we receive bear on the feelings of mutuality and generosity shared.
Two strategies that can enhance the way we give and receive are self-reflection, the consideration of self, and empathy, the consideration of the other.
Consider taking a closer look at yourself as giver and receiver.
Do You Give In A Way That Makes Receiving Easy?
Consider the generous CEO who shipped computers to a remote school without Internet capacity.
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. (Pierre Corneille)
Do You Receive in a Way that Makes Giving Possible?
One woman in her seventies remembers with a smile the tiny sequined red dress her husband gave her for A formal Christmas Party four weeks after the birth of their first child. Managing to squeeze into this dress was almost as difficult as giving birth, not to mention the question of how flattering it could possibly have been! For her, the look on his face was the gift she carried for a lifetime.
When mental health workers arrived in villages in Japan after the Tsunami and began asking how people felt – The villagers handed them shovels!
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 are at the heart of our human connection.
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Giving and Receiving as Counterparts of Generos... (December 23, 2013)
Last reviewed: 23 Dec 2013