You and I have little problem giving each other things. Gifts. You’ll agree that it’s nice to receive something especially if it’s unexpected. Flip the coin and I think it’s always uplifting to give a gift that is well received and, I believe, brings as much pleasure as receiving one.
But not everyone is the same as you and I. Here’s the rub. The whole area of giving and receiving is such a big issue for a whole bunch of people. Can you believe that? Here’s some of the issues that I have encountered.
No one has ever become poor by giving.Anne Frank
There’s the feeling of unworthiness, the ‘now I’ve got to reciprocate’, the ‘I have to act’, or maybe react, ‘to keep this relationship in balance’ approach. To my mind, when I witness this I’m thinking what sort of relationship is this? Is it really healthy at all? Maybe the recipient has issues and now has a feeling of debt. Whatever, there’s a whole lot of unpacking to do here if a real relationship is to exist.
Then there’s the people who shun generosity in most forms because somewhere down the line someone told them, probably persistently, that they have to stand on their own two feet.
You know that one?
The ‘world doesn’t owe you anything’ approach to life, and whilst we all need to be capable of demonstrating independence, that independence should not extend so far that we become an island. Indeed, the refusal of a gift given with good intent, is another means of impairing and limiting relationship because, surely, real relationship is based on the ability to give and receive, not only of material things but our stories and emotions, of trust and eventually love as appropriate.
That said, if those who have been taught the need for independence and self reliance find receiving hard I have come across some who find it more difficult still. We corresponded previously about those who have been the victims of abuse at some point in their lives, abuse in one of its several forms. This has caused self respect and any form of self worth to become diminished to varying degrees. Often so much so that the person cannot believe that they are worthy of someone else’s attention let alone a freely given gift. There exists a void where acceptance should be and if you want to give to them you will have to start small, sometimes really small. I say ‘small’ but for that other person it may be massive. You can gift words of affirmation as to their worth and their ability to grow. Remember, not everyone values everything as you and I do and it is possible that something we can easily give is perceived as enormous by the recipient.
The most precious gift you can give someone is the gift of your time and attention.Anon
Additionally, a person who has received minimal affirmation, attention or even love in their life will have had no opportunity to develop the necessary life skills to be able to receive in a way we count normal. It may be like dealing with a child and we, who have learnt to receive, must make allowances and, again, must learn to give in small ways.
Now, I think a gift given should be a gift forgotten and a gift received should be a gift always remembered. Does that need unpacking?
Well if we are genuinely imparting a gift, implicit in that act is the fact that we have given that thing up. We relinquish any claim to it. Can I go a step further? When I say ‘no claim’ over it I mean I can’t later use the supposed act of generosity to illicit something from the other person. It can’t be turned to guilt. It’s not a ‘you owe me one’ or ‘but I gave you that’. If truly given, everything is relinquished including any claim. That’s why I say ‘forgotten’.
Freely you have received; freely give.Matthew 10:8
There are those who give with the full intention of illiciting, normally by guilt, something in return. That’s narcissistic behavior. It’s manipulative and deep down wicked. Shame on anyone who plays by those rules.
Don’t even build an expectation of another that they’ll be there if you have a time of need. Even that is attaching strings to the act of giving if only in your mind and there will be a danger of that leading to bitterness one day. I repeat myself, ‘forget’. It was a gift not an investment.
I also said that as a recipient the gift should be remembered.
Well a number of reasons but first, not so we feel indebted or beholden to our benefactor. We may feel kindly towards them but no more. Rather, remember so that you may be generous when you are able. Remember so that you know someone valued you enough to give to you. That, if even only in a small way, your value has been affirmed. Hang on to that especially if it is something you are not use to. Remember because giving is the way of the Universe, of God, and the Universe is generous. There’s more than enough to go around.
The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.Pablo Picasso
Generosity is normal for the Universe and that is the mindset we need to live by. Invariably, the issue is not on the Universe’s end if it comes to lack. We need to learn how to receive, not impaired by our pasts, our conditioning, to be open to all possible opportunities. Then, when we live in a place of awareness, of gratitude, we will find ourselves becoming those who are able to freely give and unconditionally receive more. It’s a generous Universe and God is benevolent.
Yours, giving and receiving,