Why the act of receiving is as important as giving?

by Chaitali

 “The more we give, the more we receive” 

We are often taught the art are giving and sharing right from childhood and for a good reason. The act of giving makes us feel good about ourselves. However, most of us weren’t taught the art of receiving. Which is equally an important aspect of giving. 

Wondering how? Let’s start with an example. 

Consider that you buy something, like a gift for someone or make something. And now you go the person and extend the gesture of giving but they refuse to take it. You request them to take it but they say no and are rather persistent about it. 

How does that make you feel? I’m guessing you’d feel an array of emotions ranging from feeling pushy, unaccepted, self-blame for maybe the gift itself was not good or maybe you cook up a story as to why they didn’t take it. 

It was a complete loss for both you the giver and the person who it was intended for (because they didn’t accept the lovely present).

Now consider the following conversation:

Person A: “Hey you did a great job with the presentation”

Person B: “oh thanks, but you really think so? I though I messed it up”

Persona A: “no no, it was great”

Does this sound familiar? Most of us shy away from taking compliments, taking that well deserving credit, asking for a promotion, accepting help, a hike in the salary and the list is endless. 

The core underlying reason for this is our inability to receive. 

We suffer immensely as a society from the chronic inability to receive and accept because we were never taught. Most of us were made to believe that receiving and taking something as simple as space for ourselves is selfish. 

There is a thin line of balance between giving and receiving. Without which we’d always be skewed towards one extreme. 

Problems that occur due to our inability to receive: 

  1. We subconsciously feel undeserving and unworthy : 

As we are so used to giving and seldom accepting, our minds do not allow us to enjoy the things we so desperately want- the recognition, success, rest without feeling that it wasn’t yours. For example: that credit that you worked so hard for but couldn’t take it because we were taught to share everything. The thing is that we need to claim it and it isn’t selfish to take what’s yours. 

You can’t willingly share water in a desert when you’re already parched. Your survival is more important at that time. Just like in an emergency landing, we are asked to wear our oxygen mask first before helping others. 

  1. Lack of self-love:

This is one place where we suffer the most. We all are told that self-love is important but we aren’t told how to take it without feeling guilty and selfish. We tend to give ourselves time after we have provided for everyone else but that just leads to burn out. 

You can’t keep pouring from an empty cup, yet we fail to take the time to replenish ourselves. 

  1. Builds the attitude of lack and leads to resentment: 

“No one cares for me, while I keep doing so much for everyone!”, “When is it going to be my turn to receive, I’m so tired”. These are very common statements among those who haven’t learnt to receive and accept graciously. When we keep giving and fail to look out for ourselves, we build resentment towards others but is actually self-inflicted. It leads to a vicious cycle of giving, not getting, being frustrated and resentful.

We feel like there’s never enough because we are usually running on empty. 

When we learn to receive we start feeling full and abundant. For example when there is too much food on the table, and we’ve had our share, is when we find it so easy to give more to others or even donate. It sends our brains the signal that “I’m safe and I’m satisfied”.  In such a scenario that we want to share rather than have to/should. It’s more freeing and helps us feel better. 

So how do we learn to receive? We do it with simple small steps that can be integrated into our daily living. Such as: 

  • Accept compliments with just thank you and avoid giving explanations as to why you deserve it.
  • Question your need for giving (where did you learn it first, do you really want to give or is it a compulsion/obligation of upbringing?)
  • Do one small thing for yourself every day. As small as taking a break or not answering a call.
  • Give yourself first as if you were another individual- it will help put you on priority without guilt. Say “I’m doing it for (insert your name)”. 

The better we get at receiving, the more we are able to give others with a pure heart.

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