Giving AND Receiving


It is fast approaching the holiday season and I felt inspired to write a blog on the art of giving and receiving, since we can get caught up in the frenzy of this, and lose our perspective.

First things first, ask yourself two things:

  1. Are you complaining about being a giver?  
  2. Are you wanting to receive more?

If you answered a yes to either of these, (or even had a small inkling of a yes), then let’s take a few minutes to reflect on that together.

Many of us strive to be generous and giving, and in fact pride ourselves on this trait. We go out of our way to find out what other people want, and strive to give it to them. During the holiday season, this may mean traipsing around many stores to find just the right present. Or maybe spending time into the late evening to make yummy treats for our friends and family. If, after all this effort you find yourself becoming a little bit resentful, or even downright grinch like, when no one seems to appreciate you, then we have a problem. True giving is when we can set aside  our own wants and desires and be fully in the service of another. Many of us have become so accustomed to martyrdom, that we no longer feel the joy of giving at all. So what can we do?

Well, how about receiving? It would feel pretty nice to get back some of that love and attention that we have worn ourselves out giving to others. But, you say, no one is giving me anything I want. Surely someone has to give to me first, before I can receive! Well, yes, but here I have to stop you in your woeful tracks. Take a deep breath and take this next sentence in.

If you want to receive, you have to stop giving.

Yes, that’s right, you have to stop giving for long enough to take something in, to receive something back. No one can give you anything if you’re running around trying to bestow yourself on everyone else. There is no space for anything to get near you.

And here is where it gets tricky, you see, receiving is inherently vulnerable. In order to fully receive a gift, we must open our door, so to speak, and take it in. It can feel very scary to open our heart and take in something that someone else is offering us. We can be overwhelmed by gratitude. Literally overcome with emotion that someone loves us enough to give us something. Maybe we have trouble trusting that someone else is gifting us a thing that has no strings attached, no emotional baggage dragging along behind. We are afraid of what it would mean if we were to accept such a gift. These feelings are real, and worth being aware of. But if, on reflection, someone in your circle, or beyond, offers you a gift, maybe acknowledge and thank them for it, and take it in! Maybe its that simple.

So, in light of these reflections, I want to offer you all a gift from my heart to yours. The gift of warm thoughts, and blessings for the holiday season, however you celebrate this time of year. I hope you will take a few seconds to stop rushing around, giving to others, and take in the gift you could receive right now. May your giving be more joyful and may you receive what you truly want.