Have you ever felt uncomfortable because someone gave you something big, something important, and you feel like it was just too much? Felt like you ought to say “no” to the gift? And yet, you know that the person is really glad that they can help you out. All in all, it can be hard to know exactly how to react to it.
One thing I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, is that every “giver” must also be a “receiver” and every “receiver” must also be a “giver”. It has to balance out in the grand scheme of things. As I type the word “receiver”, I’m reminded of football. I know, not exactly the most spiritual reference on the surface. And, there are many life lessons, yes even spiritual ones, to be gleaned from the sport. In this example, when the quarterback is throwing the football, or “giving”, there must be a “receiver” in order for the play to be successful. It’s the same with giving in life. In order for the giving to be successful, there must be a receiver.
Some years back, I heard a speaker share a story about giving and receiving and how they must be balanced in the universe. He was practicing the life lesson of being more of a giver and giving to demonstrate his gratitude for the many blessings in his life. He had purchased a special gift for his administrative assistant to thank her for all of her support and great work. He was giving the gift to her, and she kept turning it down insisting that she couldn’t take it. In the end, she never did accept his gift, because she said that her work was simply her job, and she did nothing above and beyond. Now, you can see several lessons on both sides in this story. The thing that got him the most, though, was the realization that when we turn down a gift, we are actually taking away someone’s opportunity to be a giver. Instead of receiving and balancing out the equation, she resisted receiving. So, he was unable to give.
You see, it takes both a giver and a receiver to make life balance out.
If you’re always giving and giving, remember to stop yourself sometimes and let someone give something to you, let yourself be a “receiver” for a change. And, simply say “thank you” as you accept the gift. The type of gift is much less important than the plain act of receiving it. As my friend said, accept it with grace and ease. Feel good about the receiving of it. Enjoy knowing that you’re balancing the scales. Resist the temptation to decline. Resist the temptation to say “oh, you shouldn’t have” or some other self-deprecating response. Instead, practice accepting something with a simple “thank you”.
Oh, and remember. If you spend too much of your time being a giver without taking something, eventually, you might run out and feel empty. In my experience, this emptiness leads down a path of negativity. Instead, remember to fill yourself up as much as you give to others. That way, there’s enough of you leftover so that you can continue to give wherever it’s needed.
A generous man forgets what he gives and remembers what he receives. ~Old Proverb
I’d suggest you begin, today, to let yourself receive. Then, practice remembering what you’ve received and practice gratitude for it.
Are you more of a giver or more of a receiver? How much balance is there in your life between giving and receiving? Think of one good friend that you could ask a favor of. Ask them to help you practice receiving. It’s a two-way game. You each give something to the other person. The receiver must practice accepting with grace and ease and a simple “thank you”. This way you each practice receiving. Try it, and see what you learn!
Use every experience as an opportunity, a resource, for practicing the giving and receiving cycle. Take a moment in each situation to step back and see what you’re giving and what you’re receiving. How do your actions feel? Is it uplifting? Does it bring more love or light into the world?